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Practice Under the California Environmental Quality Act

Authors Stephen Kostka and Michael Zischke cover CEQA practice from all possible perspectives and provide you with invaluable practice tips and expert legal analysis. This definitive guide is the CEQA book most often cited by the California Supreme Court.

Authors Stephen Kostka and Michael Zischke cover CEQA practice from all possible perspectives and provide you with invaluable practice tips and expert legal analysis. This definitive guide is the CEQA book most often cited by the California Supreme Court.

  • Climate change and greenhouse gas emission analysis
  • CEQA coverage and exemptions
  • EIR versus Negative Declaration
  • Public review and scoping process
  • Content and adequacy requirements for EIRs
  • Project approval
  • Mitigation measures and monitoring programs
  • Interplay between CEQA and other statutes
  • Joint federal/state environmental documents
  • CEQA litigation and judicial review
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Authors Stephen Kostka and Michael Zischke cover CEQA practice from all possible perspectives and provide you with invaluable practice tips and expert legal analysis. This definitive guide is the CEQA book most often cited by the California Supreme Court.

  • Climate change and greenhouse gas emission analysis
  • CEQA coverage and exemptions
  • EIR versus Negative Declaration
  • Public review and scoping process
  • Content and adequacy requirements for EIRs
  • Project approval
  • Mitigation measures and monitoring programs
  • Interplay between CEQA and other statutes
  • Joint federal/state environmental documents
  • CEQA litigation and judicial review

1

Overview of CEQA Process

  • I.  OVERVIEW OF CEQA PROCESS
    • A.  Introduction  1.1
    • B.  Scope of Book  1.2
    • C.  Summary of Steps in CEQA Review Process  1.3
      • 1.  Pre-CEQA Application Activities  1.4
      • 2.  Preliminary Review: Does CEQA Apply to Proposed Action?  1.5
      • 3.  Initial Study Process: Is There a Potentially Significant Environmental Impact?  1.6
      • 4.  Negative Declaration Process  1.7
      • 5.  EIR Process  1.8
      • 6.  Project Approval  1.9
      • 7.  Subsequent Approvals and CEQA Review  1.10
      • 8.  Judicial Review of Agency Actions  1.11
      • 9.  Special Situations Relating to CEQA  1.12
    • D.  CEQA Process Flow Chart  1.13
  • II.  PURPOSE AND HISTORY OF CEQA: JUDICIAL INTERPRETATION AND LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS
    • A.  Description of CEQA  1.14
    • B.  CEQA, NEPA, and Other Environmental Assessment Laws  1.15
    • C.  Goals of CEQA  1.16
      • 1.  Avoiding or Reducing Environmental Damage  1.17
      • 2.  Informing Decision-Makers and Public  1.18
    • D.  Is CEQA Primarily Procedural or Substantive?  1.19
    • E.  Historical Application and Interpretation of CEQA  1.20
      • 1.  Friends of Mammoth Decision  1.21
      • 2.  Legislative Response to Friends of Mammoth Decision  1.22
      • 3.  Judicial Interpretation Following Friends of Mammoth Decision  1.23
      • 4.  CEQA Reform Debate in Early 1990s; Legislation Enacted 1993–2010  1.24
        • a.  1993 Legislation  1.25
        • b.  1994 Legislation  1.25A
        • c.  1995 Legislation  1.25B
        • d.  1996 Legislation  1.25C
        • e.  1997 Legislation  1.25D
        • f.  1998 Legislation  1.25E
        • g.  1999 Legislation  1.25F
        • h.  2000 Legislation  1.25G
        • i.  2001 Legislation  1.25H
        • j.  2002 Legislation  1.25I
        • k.  2003 Legislation  1.25J
        • l.  2004 Legislation  1.25K
        • m.  2005 Legislation  1.25L
        • n.  2006 Legislation  1.25M
        • o.  2007 Legislation  1.25N
        • p.  2008 Legislation  1.25O
        • q.  2009 Legislation  1.25P
        • r.  2010 Legislation  1.25Q
      • 5.  Recent Legislation: 2011 to Present
        • a.  2011 Legislation  1.26
        • b.  2012 Legislation  1.26A
        • c.  2013 Legislation  1.26B
        • d.  2014 Legislation  1.26C
        • e.  2015 Legislation  1.26D
        • f.  2016 Legislation  1.26E
        • g.  2017 Legislation  1.26F
        • h.  Recent Studies Evaluating CEQA  1.26G
  • III.  CEQA GUIDELINES  1.27
    • A.  Statutory Authority  1.28
    • B.  Mandatory, Directory, or Permissive?  1.29
    • C.  Legal Effect
      • 1.  Interpretation by Courts  1.30
      • 2.  Compliance May Not Constitute “Safe Harbor”  1.31
    • D.  Revision of Guidelines  1.32
    • E.  Other Public Agency Guidelines and Implementing Procedures  1.33
    • F.  Effect of Amendments to CEQA or CEQA Guidelines  1.34
    • G.  Additional References on CEQA  1.35
  • IV.  GLOSSARY OF CEQA TERMS  1.36

2

Attorney’s Role in CEQA Process

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  2.1
  • II.  ATTORNEY’S ROLE IN ACHIEVING CEQA COMPLIANCE
    • A.  Overview  2.2
    • B.  Working as Part of a Project Team
      • 1.  Attorney’s Role  2.3
      • 2.  Practical Suggestions for Attorney Working as Part of a Project Team  2.4
    • C.  Balancing Costs of CEQA Compliance Against Risks of Litigation
      • 1.  Determining Appropriate Level and Method of CEQA Compliance  2.5
        • a.  Review of Exempt Projects for Exceptions  2.6
        • b.  Findings for Project Approvals  2.7
        • c.  Evaluation of EIR  2.8
      • 2.  Establishing Cost of CEQA Documents  2.9
      • 3.  Challenging Excessive Fees for CEQA Documents
        • a.  Grounds for Challenge  2.10
        • b.  Procedure for Challenging Fees  2.11
    • D.  Preliminary Project Consultation  2.12
    • E.  Checklists  2.13
      • 1.  CEQA Considerations  2.14
      • 2.  Project Approvals  2.15
      • 3.  Site Constraints  2.16
    • F.  Working With Public Officials Before Application Is Filed
      • 1.  Public Officials and Agency Staff  2.17
      • 2.  Appearances Before Public Agencies  2.18
    • G.  Filing Project Application  2.19
    • H.  Attorney’s Role After Application Is Filed and While Project Is Being Considered
      • 1.  Protecting Project Applicant’s Rights
        • a.  Compliance With Notice Requirements  2.20
        • b.  Creating an Adequate Record  2.21
      • 2.  Preliminary Review  2.22
      • 3.  Processing Exempt Projects  2.23
      • 4.  Processing Negative Declaration Projects  2.24
      • 5.  Preparing and Reviewing EIRs  2.25
      • 6.  Project Approval and Findings  2.26
      • 7.  Developing and Implementing Project  2.27
  • III.  LEGAL OPINIONS REGARDING CEQA COMPLIANCE  2.28
    • A.  Use of Reasoned Opinions  2.29
    • B.  Scope of Opinions  2.30
    • C.  Content of Opinions
      • 1.  Opinions for Improvements Approved or Completed Before CEQA Was Enacted  2.31
        • a.  CEQA Exemptions for Prior Projects  2.32
        • b.  Limited Scope of Prior Project Exemption; Exceptions  2.33
      • 2.  Opinions Relating to Projects Developed After CEQA Was Enacted
        • a.  Basing Opinion on Statute of Limitations and Notice of Determination  2.34
        • b.  Exceptions to Opinion for Changes in Improvements  2.35
      • 3.  Opinions Relating to Recently Developed or Approved Projects  2.36
      • 4.  Excluding Opinions, Representations, and Warranties Regarding CEQA Compliance  2.37
      • 5.  Opinions Regarding Legal Adequacy of EIRs and Negative Declarations  2.38
    • D.  Reliance on Public Agency Representations in Preparing Opinions  2.39
  • IV.  INDEMNITY AGREEMENTS WITH PROJECT CONSULTANTS AND PROJECT APPLICANTS  2.40
  • V.  PRACTICAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES RELATING TO CEQA PROCESS
    • A.  Confidentiality of Documents
      • 1.  Trade Secrets  2.41
      • 2.  Public Records Act  2.42
      • 3.  Attorney-Client Privilege  2.42A
      • 4.  Deliberative Process Privilege  2.42B
      • 5.  Confidential Information Regarding Tribal Cultural Resources  2.42C
    • B.  Compliance With Open Meeting, Conflict-of-Interest, and Political Reform Laws
      • 1.  Open Meeting Laws  2.43
        • a.  Closed Meetings to Discuss Pending Litigation  2.44
        • b.  Serial Meetings  2.45
        • c.  Notice Requirements  2.46
      • 2.  Conflict-of-Interest Laws  2.47
      • 3.  Political Reform Laws  2.48
    • C.  Protecting Clients Against Liability for SLAPP Suits and Misrepresentations  2.49
    • D.  Use of CEQA to Attain Nonenvironmental Goals  2.50

3

Role of Public Agencies in CEQA Process

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  3.1
  • II.  LEAD AND RESPONSIBLE AGENCIES  3.2
    • A.  Lead Agency
      • 1.  Determining the Lead Agency  3.3
        • a.  Guidelines Standards for Identifying the Lead Agency  3.4
        • b.  Form: Agreement Designating Lead Agency  3.5
        • c.  State Office of Planning and Research (OPR) Designation of Lead Agency  3.6
        • d.  Special Provisions for Identifying Lead and Responsible Agencies for Particular Types of Projects  3.7
        • e.  Shift in Lead Agency Designation  3.8
      • 2.  Responsibilities of Lead Agency  3.9
        • a.  Preliminary Review  3.10
        • b.  Initial Study  3.11
        • c.  Negative Declaration  3.12
        • d.  Environmental Impact Report (EIR)  3.13
          • (1)  Draft EIR  3.14
          • (2)  Final EIR  3.15
        • e.  Monitoring  3.16
        • f.  Subsequent Approvals  3.17
    • B.  Responsible Agency
      • 1.  Definition of Responsible Agency  3.18
      • 2.  Responsibilities of Responsible Agency  3.19
        • a.  Responsible Agency’s Role in Consultation Process  3.20
        • b.  Responsible Agency’s Own Action on Project
          • (1)  Decide on Adequacy of EIR or Negative Declaration  3.21
          • (2)  Consider EIR or Negative Declaration  3.22
          • (3)  Make Findings and File Notice of Determination  3.23
          • (4)  Participate in Reporting or Monitoring Program  3.24
      • 3.  How to Identify Responsible Agencies for a Project  3.25
      • 4.  Checklist: Potential State Responsible Agencies and Permits  3.26
    • C.  Relationship Between Lead and Responsible Agencies
      • 1.  Responsible Agency Bound by Lead Agency’s CEQA Decisions
        • a.  Lead Agency’s Decision on Whether to Prepare EIR or Negative Declaration Is Final and Conclusive  3.27
        • b.  Final EIR or Negative Declaration Is Presumed Valid
          • (1)  Presumption When No Action Is Filed  3.28
          • (2)  Presumption When Action Is Pending  3.29
        • c.  Presumptions Probably Do Not Apply to Exemption Determinations  3.30
      • 2.  Responsible Agency Has Authority to Mitigate, Approve, or Disapprove  3.31
      • 3.  Responsible Agency and Mitigation Monitoring or Reporting Programs  3.32
      • 4.  Certified Regulatory Agency as Lead Agency  3.33
  • III.  PUBLIC AGENCIES: STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES
    • A.  Definitions  3.34
    • B.  Different Filing and Notice Requirements for State and Local Agencies  3.35
    • C.  Additional Responsibilities for State Agencies  3.36
    • D.  State Agencies Only Are Eligible for Certified Program Exemption  3.37
  • IV.  TRUSTEE AGENCIES
    • A.  Definition  3.38
    • B.  Responsibilities of Lead Agencies With Respect to Trustee Agencies  3.39
    • C.  Role and Responsibilities of Trustee Agencies  3.40
  • V.  COORDINATING ROLES OF NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY AND OFFICE OF PLANNING AND RESEARCH (OPR)
    • A.  Responsibilities of Secretary of Natural Resources Agency  3.41
    • B.  OPR  3.42
    • C.  State Clearinghouse  3.43
  • VI.  AGENCY PROCEDURES TO IMPLEMENT CEQA
    • A.  Public Agencies Must Adopt Implementing Procedures  3.44
      • 1.  Methods of Adopting Agency Implementing Procedures  3.45
      • 2.  Checklist: Items That Must Be Included in Agency Implementing Procedures  3.46
      • 3.  Amendments to the Guidelines  3.47
      • 4.  Time Periods for Public Review Must Be Consistent With CEQA and Guidelines  3.48
      • 5.  Effect of Agency Implementing Procedures  3.49
    • B.  General Provisions Regarding Agency Authority, Responsibility, and Delegation of Responsibility  3.50

4

Is the Activity a Project?

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  4.1
  • II.  PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF PROPOSED ACTIVITY  4.2
    • A.  Types of Exclusions and Exemptions  4.3
    • B.  Determining Whether CEQA Applies as Part of Preliminary Review  4.4
  • III.  DETERMINING WHETHER ACTIVITY IS A “PROJECT”
    • A.  Definition of “Project”  4.5
    • B.  Scope of “Project”  4.6
    • C.  First Test for Project: Exercise of Powers by Public Agency  4.7
      • 1.  Public Agencies Subject to CEQA
        • a.  Definition of “Public Agency”  4.8
        • b.  Exclusions From Definition of “Public Agency”
          • (1)  State Legislature  4.9
          • (2)  State Courts  4.10
          • (3)  Electorate  4.11
      • 2.  Types of Agency Actions Subject to CEQA  4.12
        • a.  Activities Undertaken by Public Agency  4.13
        • b.  Private Activities Involving Public Agency Approval  4.14
        • c.  Proposed Approval Triggers CEQA  4.15
        • d.  Exemption for Disapproved Proposals  4.16
    • D.  Second Test for Project: Effect on Physical Environment  4.17
      • 1.  Potential to Result in Physical Change in Environment  4.18
      • 2.  Whole of Action  4.19
      • 3.  Indirect Effects on the Environment  4.20
      • 4.  Actions That Will Result in a Foreseeable Change to the Environment  4.21
      • 5.  Actions That Will Not Result in a Foreseeable Change to the Environment  4.22
      • 6.  Specific Exclusions Under CEQA Guidelines  4.23
    • E.  Third Test for Project: Discretionary Versus Ministerial Action  4.24
      • 1.  What Is a Discretionary Activity?  4.25
      • 2.  What Is a Ministerial Activity?  4.26
      • 3.  Projects With Both Discretionary and Ministerial Components  4.27
      • 4.  Types of Decisions That May Be Either Discretionary or Ministerial  4.28
        • a.  Discretionary Development Permits  4.29
        • b.  Ministerial Development Permits  4.30
    • F.  Application of CEQA to Ballot Measures  4.30A
  • IV.  STANDARD OF JUDICIAL REVIEW OF AGENCY’S DETERMINATION WHETHER AN ACTIVITY IS A PROJECT  4.31

5

Is the Project Exempt?

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  5.1
  • II.  PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
    • A.  Checklist: Factors to Consider in Making CEQA Exemption Determinations  5.2
    • B.  Distinction Between Statutory Exemptions, Categorical Exemptions, and the Common Sense Exemption  5.3
    • C.  Using Multiple Exemptions  5.4
  • III.  STATUTORY EXEMPTIONS  5.5
    • A.  Locating Statutory Exemptions  5.6
    • B.  Tables: Statutory Exemptions  5.7
    • C.  General Statutory Exemptions
      • 1.  Ministerial Projects  5.8
        • a.  Building, Demolition, and Grading Permits  5.9
        • b.  Ballot Measures  5.10
        • c.  Other Situations  5.11
      • 2.  Disapproved Projects  5.12
      • 3.  Ongoing Projects
        • a.  Public Agency Projects Approved Before Enactment of CEQA  5.13
        • b.  Private Projects Approved Before Compliance Date  5.14
      • 4.  Projects Located Outside California  5.15
      • 5.  Feasibility and Planning Studies  5.16
      • 6.  Natural Disasters and Emergencies  5.17
      • 7.  Changes to Rates, Tolls, Fares, and Charges  5.18
    • D.  Statutory Exemptions Applicable to Specific Classes of Projects
      • 1.  Mass Transit and Transportation Improvement Programs  5.19
      • 2.  School Closings  5.20
      • 3.  Local Ordinances Relating to Construction of Accessory Dwelling Units  5.21
      • 4.  Minor Infrastructure Improvements  5.22
      • 5.  State Lands Commission Title and Boundary Settlements; Land Bank Acquisitions  5.23
      • 6.  Shade Control Ordinances  5.24
      • 7.  Day Care Homes  5.25
      • 8.  Discharge Requirements for Existing Sources  5.26
      • 9.  Timberland Preserves  5.27
      • 10.  Coastal Plans  5.28
      • 11.  Financial Assistance or Insurance for Low- and Moderate-Income Housing  5.29
      • 12.  Thermal Power Plants  5.30
      • 13.  General Plan Time Extension  5.31
      • 14.  Court-Ordered General Plan Amendment  5.32
      • 15.  Determination of City’s or County’s Regional Share of Housing Needs  5.33
      • 16.  Residential and Other Projects Consistent With Specific Plans  5.34
      • 17.  Development Approvals Based on Previous Planning or Zoning EIR  5.35
      • 18.  State-Certified Regulatory Programs  5.36
      • 19.  Local Implementation of State Regulations Under Certified Regulatory Programs  5.37
      • 20.  Mobilehome Park Conversions  5.38
      • 21.  Water Management Plans  5.39
      • 22.  Native American Sites  5.40
      • 23.  Certain Bonds and Financing Mechanisms  5.41
      • 24.  Industrial Development Authorities  5.42
      • 25.  Delta Protection  5.43
      • 26.  Temporary Transfer or Exchange of Water or Water Rights  5.44
      • 27.  Adoption of Nondisposal Facility Elements of Local Solid Waste Plans  5.45
      • 28.  Caltrans Land Acquisitions Within Certain Transportation Corridors  5.46
      • 29.  Projects on Native American Lands  5.47
      • 30.  Affordable Housing, Farmworker Housing, and Infill Housing  5.48
        • a.  General Criteria for Housing Exemptions  5.49
        • b.  Farmworker Housing Exemption  5.50
        • c.  Affordable Housing Exemption  5.51
        • d.  Infill Residential Development Exemption  5.52
        • e.  Other CEQA Exemptions and Streamlining Provisions to Consider  5.53
        • f.  Special Posting Requirements for Housing Exemptions  5.54
      • 31.  “Transit Priority Projects” Under SB 375  5.54A
      • 32.  “Use by Right” Development of Affordable Housing  5.55
      • 33.  Title V Air Quality Permits  5.56
      • 34.  Aquaculture Facility Registration  5.57
      • 35.  Minor Utility Alterations for Fluoridation  5.58
      • 36.  Publicly Owned Transit Agency Budget Reductions  5.59
      • 37.  School Facilities Needs Analyses  5.60
      • 38.  Infrastructure Financing Actions  5.61
      • 39.  NCCP Planning Agreements  5.62
      • 40.  Mandatory Recycled Water Use  5.63
      • 41.  Dispositions of Surplus State Real Property  5.63A
      • 42.  Rooftop and Parking Lot Solar Projects  5.63B
      • 43.  Interim Drought Relief Measures  5.63C
    • E.  Statutory Exemptions Applicable to Specific Projects
      • 1.  Olympic Games  5.64
      • 2.  Specified Prisons  5.65
      • 3.  Bay Area Rail Service  5.66
      • 4.  Uncodified Exemptions for Specific Projects  5.67
  • IV.  CATEGORICAL EXEMPTIONS  5.68
    • A.  Adoption of Categorical Exemptions  5.69
    • B.  Specific Exceptions to Exemptions  5.70
    • C.  General Exceptions to Exemptions  5.71
      • 1.  Unusual Circumstances  5.72
      • 2.  Cumulative Impacts  5.73
      • 3.  Sensitive Environment  5.74
    • D.  Mitigated Categorical Exemptions Not Allowed  5.75
    • E.  Table: Locating Categorical Exemptions  5.76
    • F.  Discussion of Specific Exemptions
      • 1.  Ongoing Operations, Maintenance, and Reconstruction
        • a.  Operation, Repair, Maintenance, or Minor Alteration of Existing Structures or Facilities  5.77
        • b.  Normal Operations of Existing Facilities for Public Gatherings  5.78
        • c.  Replacement or Reconstruction of Existing Structures or Facilities  5.79
      • 2.  Small Construction or Development Projects
        • a.  Construction, Installation, or Conversion of Small Structures, Facilities, or Equipment  5.80
        • b.  Construction or Placement of Accessory Structures  5.81
        • c.  Minor Alterations to Land, Water, or Vegetation  5.82
        • d.  Infill Development Projects  5.83
      • 3.  Land Use Regulation
        • a.  Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations  5.84
        • b.  Minor Land Divisions  5.85
      • 4.  Protection of Natural Resources, Environment, and Open Space
        • a.  Actions by Regulatory Agencies to Protect Natural Resources  5.86
        • b.  Actions by Regulatory Agencies to Protect Environment  5.87
        • c.  Acquisition of Land for Wildlife Conservation  5.88
        • d.  Transfer of Ownership of Land to Create Parks  5.89
        • e.  Establishment of Agricultural Preserves, Creation of Open Space Contracts, and Acceptance of Easements or Fee Interests  5.90
        • f.  Transfers of Ownership of Interests in Land to Preserve Open Space, Habitat, or Historical Resources  5.91
        • g.  Designation of Wilderness Areas  5.92
        • h.  Minor Environmental Cleanups  5.93
        • i.  Historic Resource Restoration or Rehabilitation  5.94
        • j.  Small Habitat Restoration Projects  5.95
      • 5.  Small Energy Projects
        • a.  Installation of Small Hydroelectric Projects at Existing Facilities  5.96
        • b.  Installation of Small Cogeneration Projects at Existing Facilities  5.97
      • 6.  Organization of Government Agencies
        • a.  Annexations of Existing Facilities and Exempt Small Parcels  5.98
        • b.  Changes in Organization of Local Agencies  5.99
      • 7.  Schools
        • a.  Minor Additions to Schools  5.100
        • b.  Educational or Training Programs Involving No Physical Changes  5.101
      • 8.  Purchase, Sale, and Lease of Property and Loans by Government Agencies
        • a.  Acquisition of Interests in Housing to Implement Housing Assistance Programs  5.102
        • b.  Sales of Surplus Government Property  5.103
        • c.  Leasing of New Facilities  5.104
        • d.  Loans, Mortgages, and Purchase of Mortgages  5.105
      • 9.  Regulatory Activities by Government Agencies
        • a.  Enforcement Actions  5.106
        • b.  Regulation of Working Conditions  5.107
        • c.  Inspections  5.108
      • 10.  Information Collection  5.109
  • V.  THE COMMON SENSE EXEMPTION
    • A.  Description of Common Sense Exemption  5.110
    • B.  Application of Common Sense Exemption  5.111
    • C.  Application to Actions Designed to Protect Environment  5.112
  • VI.  PROCEDURE FOR APPROVING EXEMPT PROJECT AND FILING NOTICE OF EXEMPTION
    • A.  Preliminary Review for Exemption  5.113
    • B.  Exemption Determination
      • 1.  No Required Procedure  5.114
      • 2.  Findings  5.115
    • C.  Agency Filing of Notice of Exemption  5.116
      • 1.  Contents of Notice  5.117
      • 2.  Filing, Posting, and Mailing of Notice  5.118
    • D.  Applicant Filing of Notice of Exemption  5.119
    • E.  Statute of Limitations When Notice of Exemption Is Filed  5.120
    • F.  Effect of Errors in Notice or Posting Procedure  5.121
    • G.  Exemption From Fish and Game Code Filing Fees  5.122
  • VII.  STANDARD OF JUDICIAL REVIEW OF EXEMPTION DECISIONS
    • A.  Governing Statute  5.123
    • B.  Review Not Limited to Exemptions in Agency Record  5.124
    • C.  Standard of Review for Statutory Exemptions  5.125
    • D.  Standard of Review for Categorical Exemptions  5.126
    • E.  Standard of Review for Exceptions to Categorical Exemptions
      • 1.  General Exceptions  5.127
      • 2.  Specific Exceptions  5.128
    • F.  Standard of Review for Common Sense Exemption  5.129

6

Initial Study: Will Project Have Significant Effect on Environment?

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  6.1
  • II.  WHEN INITIAL STUDY IS REQUIRED  6.2
  • III.  PURPOSES OF INITIAL STUDY  6.3
    • A.  To Provide Information on Whether to Prepare EIR or Negative Declaration  6.4
    • B.  To Determine Possibility of Mitigated Negative Declaration  6.5
    • C.  To Document Decision to Adopt Negative Declaration  6.6
    • D.  To Assist in Preparing EIR  6.7
    • E.  To Determine Whether to Rely on Previously Completed EIR  6.8
  • IV.  REQUIREMENTS FOR INITIAL STUDY
    • A.  Time Limits  6.9
    • B.  Contents  6.10
      • 1.  Format  6.11
      • 2.  Scope of Analysis  6.12
      • 3.  Use of Environmental Checklist Form  6.13
      • 4.  Other Methods for Preparing an Initial Study  6.14
      • 5.  Preparation of Initial Study  6.15
    • C.  Adequacy of Initial Study
      • 1.  Technical Compliance  6.16
      • 2.  Brief Description of Project and Setting  6.16A
      • 3.  Factual Basis for Impact Findings
        • a.  Basis for Impact Findings Must Be Shown  6.17
        • b.  Standards for Factual Showing  6.18
        • c.  Implementation of Requirement  6.19
        • d.  Reliance on Information in Addition to Initial Study  6.20
    • D.  Requirements for Initial Study Used to Focus EIR  6.21
    • E.  Required Procedures for Initial Study
      • 1.  Consultation
        • a.  Other Agencies  6.22
        • b.  Project Applicant  6.23
        • c.  Consultants and Experts  6.24
        • d.  Applicant’s Attorney  6.25
        • e.  Members of Public  6.26
      • 2.  Implementation of Initial Study  6.27
      • 3.  Effect of Changes to Project  6.28
      • 4.  Fees for Preparing Initial Study  6.29
  • V.  SCOPE OF IMPACT ANALYSIS
    • A.  Baseline for Analysis  6.30
    • B.  Entire Project  6.31
    • C.  All Phases of Project  6.32
    • D.  Indirect Impacts  6.33
    • E.  Cumulative Impacts  6.34
    • F.  Impacts of the Environment on the Project  6.35
    • G.  Social and Economic Issues  6.36
  • VI.  DETERMINING WHETHER TO PREPARE EIR OR NEGATIVE DECLARATION
    • A.  Legal Standard: Fair Argument Test  6.37
      • 1.  Review of Entire Record  6.38
      • 2.  “Substantial Evidence” Defined  6.39
      • 3.  Evidence Lead Agency May Consider
        • a.  Studies Prepared by Agency  6.40
        • b.  Reports and Comments by Experts  6.41
        • c.  Comments by Members of Public  6.42
        • d.  Comments by Other Agencies  6.43
    • B.  Evaluating Whether Effect on Environment May Be Significant  6.44
      • 1.  Exercise of Agency’s Judgment  6.45
      • 2.  Mandatory Findings of Significance  6.46
        • a.  Implementation of Mandatory Findings
          • (1)  Degradation of Environment  6.47
          • (2)  Long-Term Impacts  6.48
          • (3)  Cumulative Impacts  6.49
          • (4)  Impacts on Species  6.50
          • (5)  Impacts on Historical Resources  6.51
          • (6)  Impacts on Human Beings  6.52
        • b.  Mandatory EIR for Specified Types of Projects  6.53
      • 3.  Guidelines Appendix G Checklist  6.54
      • 4.  Regulatory Agency Environmental Standards  6.55
      • 5.  Formally Adopted Thresholds of Significance  6.56
      • 6.  Project Setting  6.57
      • 7.  Public Controversy  6.58
      • 8.  Expert Opinion  6.59
  • VII.  MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATIONS
    • A.  Description  6.60
    • B.  Relationship to Initial Study  6.61
    • C.  Use of Mitigated Negative Declarations  6.62
    • D.  Incorporation of Project Changes  6.63
    • E.  Nature of Mitigation Measures
      • 1.  Mitigation Methods  6.64
      • 2.  Acceptable Mitigation Measures
        • a.  Modifications of Project Plan  6.65
        • b.  Limitations on Activities  6.66
        • c.  Construction of Improvements  6.67
        • d.  Compliance With Standards  6.68
        • e.  Monitoring and Enforcement  6.69
        • f.  Approval by Other Agencies  6.70
        • g.  “Drop-Dead” Conditions  6.71
      • 3.  Unacceptable Mitigation Measures
        • a.  Hand-Off to Another Agency  6.72
        • b.  Future Study  6.73
        • c.  Future Mitigation  6.74
      • 4.  Payment of Fees as Mitigation  6.74A
  • VIII.  STANDARD OF JUDICIAL REVIEW  6.75
    • A.  Fair Argument Standard  6.76
    • B.  Agency’s Duty to Investigate Project’s Environmental Impacts  6.77
    • C.  Review of Mitigated Negative Declarations  6.78
    • D.  Examples From Case Law
      • 1.  Cases Overturning Agency Decision to Adopt Negative Declaration  6.79
      • 2.  Cases Upholding Agency Decision to Adopt Negative Declaration  6.80

7

Procedural and Substantive Requirements for Negative Declarations

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  7.1
  • II.  NEGATIVE DECLARATION: DEFINITION; REQUIREMENTS  7.2
  • III.  MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION  7.3
  • IV.  PROCEDURES FOR PROJECT APPROVAL BASED ON NEGATIVE DECLARATION
    • A.  Checklist: Attorney’s Review for Adequacy of Negative Declaration  7.4
    • B.  Time Limits for Completion
      • 1.  Time to Complete and Adopt Negative Declaration  7.5
      • 2.  No Sanction for Violation of Time Limit  7.6
      • 3.  Time Limit Suspended for Unreasonable Delay by Project Applicant  7.7
    • C.  Preparation and Review  7.8
      • 1.  Required Contents of Negative Declaration  7.9
      • 2.  Required Notice  7.10
        • a.  Notice to the Public  7.11
        • b.  Notice to Requesting Parties  7.12
        • c.  Notice to Public Agencies  7.13
        • d.  Notice to Native American Tribes  7.13A
        • e.  Posting by County Clerk  7.14
        • f.  Submission to State Clearinghouse  7.15
        • g.  Additional Notice  7.16
        • h.  Special Notice Requirements for Certain Types of Projects  7.17
      • 3.  Required Contents of Notice  7.18
      • 4.  Review and Comment Period
        • a.  Public and Agency Review Required  7.19
          • (1)  Time Allowed for Negative Declarations Not Submitted to State Clearinghouse  7.20
          • (2)  Time Allowed for Negative Declarations Submitted to State Clearinghouse  7.21
        • b.  Comments on Negative Declaration  7.22
        • c.  Recirculation of Negative Declaration  7.23
    • D.  Adoption of Negative Declaration
      • 1.  Procedure for Adoption  7.24
      • 2.  Standards for Adoption  7.25
      • 3.  Requirements for Adoption  7.26
      • 4.  Agency’s Delegation of Duties  7.27
      • 5.  Adoption of Mitigation Monitoring Program  7.28
    • E.  Notice of Determination  7.29
      • 1.  Contents  7.30
      • 2.  Filing and Posting  7.31
    • F.  Payment of Fish and Game Code Filing Fee  7.32
      • 1.  Amount of Fee  7.33
      • 2.  Responsibility for Payment  7.34
      • 3.  Time for Payment  7.35
      • 4.  Filing Fee Exemptions
        • a.  No Effect Exemption
          • (1)  Definition; Eligible Projects  7.36
          • (2)  Procedure  7.37
        • b.  Other Exemptions  7.38
      • 5.  One Fee per Project  7.39
      • 6.  Notice Will Not Be Filed Until Fee Paid  7.40
      • 7.  Recordkeeping and Penalties  7.41

8

Determining Scope and Contents of EIR

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  8.1
  • II.  DECISION TO PREPARE EIR
    • A.  Decision-Making Process  8.2
    • B.  Time Limits for Private Projects
      • 1.  Thirty Days After Application Is Complete  8.3
      • 2.  When Is Application Complete?  8.4
    • C.  Coordination With Project Review  8.5
  • III.  DETERMINING SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF EIR  8.6
    • A.  Using Initial Study to Determine Scope of EIR  8.7
    • B.  Consultation With Concerned Agencies  8.8
    • C.  Consultation With Native American Tribes  8.8A
    • D.  Notice of Preparation  8.9
      • 1.  Parties to Whom Notice Must Be Sent
        • a.  Responsible, Trustee, and Federal Agencies  8.10
        • b.  State Clearinghouse  8.11
        • c.  Agencies Concerned With Transportation Facilities  8.12
        • d.  Department of Fish and Wildlife  8.13
        • e.  Persons Requesting Notice  8.14
      • 2.  Transmittal and Posting  8.15
      • 3.  Contents  8.16
      • 4.  Response to Notice of Preparation  8.17
      • 5.  Failure to Respond Within Time Limits  8.18
    • E.  Scoping Meetings
      • 1.  Scoping Meetings With Responsible or Trustee Agencies  8.19
      • 2.  Consultation With Members of Public  8.20
      • 3.  Public Scoping Meeting Required for Projects of Statewide, Regional, or Areawide Significance  8.21
    • F.  Coordination of Consultation With Preparation of EIR  8.22
    • G.  Documenting the Results of the Consultation and Scoping Process  8.23

9

Requirements for Preparation and Review of Draft EIRs

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  9.1
  • II.  PREPARATION OF DRAFT EIR
    • A.  Lead Agency’s Responsibility  9.2
    • B.  Sources of Information  9.3
    • C.  Who May Prepare EIR?
      • 1.  Legal Requirements  9.4
      • 2.  Lead Agency Must Independently Review and Analyze EIR  9.5
      • 3.  Working With EIR Consultants  9.6
        • a.  Selecting Consultant  9.7
        • b.  Defining Scope of Consultant’s Work  9.8
        • c.  Attorney's Role in Working With Consultants  9.9
    • D.  Review of Internal Draft EIRs  9.10
    • E.  Contacts With Applicant and Applicant’s Counsel During EIR Preparation; Common Interest Doctrine  9.11
  • III.  REVIEW OF DRAFT EIR BY OTHER AGENCIES
    • A.  Notice of Completion
      • 1.  When Required  9.12
      • 2.  Required Contents  9.13
    • B.  Review Through State Clearinghouse
      • 1.  When Required  9.14
      • 2.  Projects of Statewide, Regional, or Areawide Significance  9.15
    • C.  Agency Consultation and Comments on Draft EIR  9.16
  • IV.  PUBLIC REVIEW
    • A.  Notice of Public Review  9.17
      • 1.  Required Contents  9.18
      • 2.  Manner of Giving Notice  9.19
    • B.  Review Period  9.20
      • 1.  “Local Review” Projects  9.21
      • 2.  “Clearinghouse Review” Projects
        • a.  Normal Review Period  9.22
        • b.  Shortened Clearinghouse Review Periods; Exceptional Circumstances  9.23
      • 3.  Requests for Time Extension  9.24
    • C.  Other Review Requirements
      • 1.  Purpose of Review  9.25
      • 2.  Availability of Draft EIR for Review  9.26
      • 3.  Optional Hearings on Draft EIR  9.27
      • 4.  Comment Procedure
        • a.  Submission of Comments  9.28
        • b.  Focus of Comments  9.29
        • c.  Evaluation and Response to Comments  9.30

10

CEQA Streamlining and Special EIR Processes

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  10.1
  • II.  STREAMLINING CEQA REVIEW
    • A.  Types of CEQA Streamlining Processes  10.2
    • B.  Selecting an Appropriate Streamlining Process  10.3
    • C.  Checklist: Factors in Selecting a Special EIR Process  10.4
    • D.  Preparing First-Level EIRs  10.5
  • III.  TIERING EIRs
    • A.  Definition and Purpose  10.6
    • B.  When Tiering Is Appropriate  10.7
    • C.  Contents of First-Tier EIR
      • 1.  Impact Analysis  10.8
      • 2.  Mitigation Measures and Alternatives  10.9
    • D.  Determining Scope of Later EIR  10.10
    • E.  Required Procedures  10.11
    • F.  Tiered Negative Declaration  10.12
  • IV.  PROGRAM EIRs
    • A.  Definition and Purposes  10.13
    • B.  Uses of Program EIRs  10.14
      • 1.  Avoiding Multiple EIRs  10.15
        • a.  Evaluating Whether Further Review Is Needed for Later Approvals  10.16
        • b.  Required Notice  10.17
      • 2.  Simplifying Later Environmental Review  10.18
      • 3.  Consideration of Broad Programmatic Issues  10.19
    • C.  Use Required for Multiple and Phased Projects  10.20
    • D.  Standard of Review for Determination That a Later EIR Is Not Required  10.21
  • V.  MASTER EIRs
    • A.  Definition and Purposes  10.22
    • B.  Actions Eligible for Master EIR Treatment  10.23
    • C.  Required Contents of a Master EIR  10.24
    • D.  Later CEQA Review After a Master EIR Has Been Completed
      • 1.  Later Lead Agency Must Have Been Identified in Master EIR  10.25
      • 2.  Procedure for Project Review  10.26
        • a.  Initial Study  10.27
        • b.  Finding of No New Impacts  10.28
        • c.  New Impacts Can Be Mitigated With a Mitigated Negative Declaration  10.29
        • d.  EIR or Focused EIR  10.30
      • 3.  Continuing Adequacy of Master EIR
        • a.  Approvals Within 5 Years  10.31
        • b.  Actions After 5 Years  10.32
  • VI.  APPROVALS BASED ON EIR FOR GENERAL PLAN, COMMUNITY PLAN, OR ZONING (Pub Res C §21083.3)  10.33
    • A.  Types of Previous Zoning or Planning Actions Covered by Pub Res C §21083.3  10.34
    • B.  Limits on Applicability of Pub Res C §21083.3  10.35
      • 1.  Impacts “Peculiar to” Parcel or Project  10.36
      • 2.  Effect on Analysis of Off-Site and Cumulative Impacts  10.37
    • C.  Procedures for Applying Pub Res C §21083.3
      • 1.  Applicable Mitigation Measures Identified in Prior EIR Must Be Imposed  10.38
      • 2.  Procedure for Determining Impacts That Are Exempt From Further Review  10.39
    • D.  Effect of Pub Res C §21083.3 as CEQA Exemption  10.40
  • VII.  STREAMLINED REVIEW OF QUALIFYING INFILL PROJECTS  10.40A
  • VIII.  STAGED EIRs  10.41
    • A.  When Staging May Be Used  10.42
    • B.  When First Approval Must Be Granted by Responsible Agency, Not Lead Agency  10.43
    • C.  When Agency May Decline to Prepare Staged EIR as Lead Agency  10.44
  • IX.  EXEMPTIONS FOR RESIDENTIAL AND OTHER PROJECTS CONSISTENT WITH A SPECIFIC PLAN  10.45
  • X.  FOCUSED EIR FOR SMALL MULTIPLE-FAMILY OR MIXED-USE RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS CONSISTENT WITH LOCAL PLAN OR ZONING  10.46
  • XI.  STRUCTURING THE LAND USE APPROVAL PROCESS TO STREAMLINE CEQA REVIEW  10.47
  • XII.  COMBINING GENERAL PLAN AND EIR  10.48
  • XIII.  USE OF EIR FROM EARLIER PROJECT
    • A.  When Authorized  10.49
    • B.  Required Procedures
      • 1.  Initial Study  10.50
      • 2.  Public Review  10.51
      • 3.  Agency Actions After Public Review  10.52
    • C.  Adoption of Negative Declaration Based on Previous EIR  10.53
  • XIV.  USE OF SINGLE EIR FOR MULTIPLE PROJECTS  10.54
  • XV.  MASTER ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS (MEAs)  10.55
    • A.  Contents of MEAs  10.56
    • B.  Preparation of MEAs  10.57
    • C.  Uses for MEAs  10.58
  • XVI.  EXPANDED EIR PROCESS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS  10.59
    • A.  Qualifying as Environmental Leadership Development Project  10.60
    • B.  Expanded Public Notice and Document Availability Requirements  10.61

11

Substantive Requirements for EIRs

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  11.1
  • II.  NATURE AND PURPOSES OF EIR  11.2
  • III.  EIR CONTENT AND FORMAT REQUIREMENTS
    • A.  EIR Contents  11.3
      • 1.  Table of Contents or Index  11.4
      • 2.  Summary  11.5
      • 3.  List of Organizations and Persons Consulted  11.6
      • 4.  EIR Preparers  11.7
      • 5.  Project Description  11.8
      • 6.  Environmental Setting  11.9
      • 7.  Environmental Impacts  11.10
      • 8.  Cumulative Impacts  11.11
      • 9.  Mitigation Measures  11.12
      • 10.  Alternatives  11.13
      • 11.  Growth-Inducing Impacts  11.14
      • 12.  Unavoidable Environmental Effects  11.15
      • 13.  Irreversible Environmental Changes  11.16
    • B.  EIR Format
      • 1.  Any Format May Be Used  11.17
      • 2.  Use of Combined Documents  11.18
      • 3.  Length  11.19
      • 4.  Clear Presentation of Information  11.20
    • C.  Methods for Incorporating Information in EIR  11.21
      • 1.  Placing Technical Information in EIR Appendixes  11.22
      • 2.  Citation to Technical Information  11.23
      • 3.  Incorporation by Reference
        • a.  Procedure for Incorporating Material  11.24
        • b.  Explanation of Material Being Incorporated  11.25
        • c.  Checklist: Requirements for Incorporation by Reference  11.26
      • 4.  Other Methods for Simplifying Preparation  11.27
  • IV.  STANDARDS FOR EIR’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
    • A.  General Standards for EIR Adequacy  11.28
    • B.  Level of Detail Required
      • 1.  General Standards  11.29
      • 2.  Level of Specificity Depends on Nature of Project  11.30
      • 3.  Deferring Specific Analysis to Future EIRs  11.31
      • 4.  EIR Should Make Reasonable Forecasts  11.32
      • 5.  EIR Should Avoid Speculation  11.33
    • C.  Requirement for Fact-Based Analysis  11.34
    • D.  Effect of Disagreements Over Data or Methodology  11.35
    • E.  Effect of Requests for Further Studies  11.36
  • V.  STANDARDS FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW  11.37
    • A.  Substantial Evidence Standard
      • 1.  Application to EIRs  11.38
      • 2.  Examples of Application  11.39
    • B.  Compliance With Provisions of Law
      • 1.  Compliance With Substantive Requirements for Contents of EIR  11.40
      • 2.  Compliance With Procedural Requirements  11.41
      • 3.  Limitation to Explicitly Stated Requirements of Law  11.42
    • C.  Role of Comment and Response Process in Determining EIR Adequacy  11.43

12

Project Description, Setting, and Baseline

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  12.1
  • II.  PROJECT DESCRIPTION
    • A.  Legal Requirements  12.2
    • B.  Level of Detail Required  12.3
    • C.  Need Not Include Information Not Required by Guidelines  12.4
    • D.  Location in EIR  12.5
    • E.  Checklist: Project Description  12.6
    • F.  Adequacy Requirements for Project Description
      • 1.  Description Must Be Accurate  12.7
      • 2.  Required Scope of Project Description
        • a.  Description Must Include All Components of Project  12.8
        • b.  Description Must Include Future Activities That Are Foreseeable Consequences of Project Approval  12.9
        • c.  Description Need Not Include Future Activities That Are Not Foreseeable Consequences of Project  12.10
        • d.  Description Need Not Include Related Activities That Have Independent Purpose or Independent Utility  12.10A
        • e.  Separate Projects May Be Reviewed in Single EIR  12.10B
      • 3.  Description Must Be Stable and Consistent  12.11
    • G.  Technical Requirements for Project Description
      • 1.  Location, Boundaries, and Maps  12.12
      • 2.  Statement of Objectives  12.13
      • 3.  Description of Project’s Technical, Economic, and Environmental Characteristics  12.14
      • 4.  List of Intended Uses of EIR  12.15
  • III.  ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING AND BASELINE  12.16
    • A.  Legal Requirements for Setting Discussion  12.17
    • B.  Format for Describing Environmental Setting  12.18
    • C.  Determination of the Baseline
      • 1.  General Rule: Existing Physical Conditions  12.19
      • 2.  Defining Existing Conditions  12.20
      • 3.  Baseline for Planning Actions  12.21
      • 4.  Existing Facilities and Operations Baseline  12.22
      • 5.  Baseline for Changes to Previously Reviewed Projects  12.23
      • 6.  Effect of Past Illegal Activity  12.24
      • 7.  Use of Future Baseline  12.25
      • 8.  Special Rules for Military Base Reuse Plans  12.26
  • IV.  INCONSISTENCY WITH APPLICABLE PLANS  12.27
    • A.  Guidelines Requirement  12.28
    • B.  Discussion of Consistency May Be Provided  12.29
    • C.  Plans Covered by Inconsistency Requirement  12.30
    • D.  Potentially Applicable Plans  12.31
    • E.  Location of Analysis in EIR  12.32
    • F.  Determining Consistency or Inconsistency  12.33
    • G.  Plan Inconsistencies and Significant Environmental Effects  12.34
    • H.  Drafting Suggestions for Plan Inconsistency Analysis  12.35

13

Significant Environmental Effects

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  13.1
  • II.  IDENTIFICATION OF SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS  13.2
    • A.  Definition of Significant Environmental Impacts
      • 1.  Significant Adverse Change to Environment  13.3
      • 2.  Must Affect Environment in General  13.4
      • 3.  Treatment of Impacts of Environment on Project  13.5
    • B.  Required Elements of Impact Assessment  13.6
    • C.  Existing Conditions as Baseline for Measuring Impacts  13.7
  • III.  STANDARDS OF SIGNIFICANCE
    • A.  Lead Agency Has Discretion to Set Standards of Significance  13.8
    • B.  Basis for Standards of Significance  13.9
      • 1.  Project-Specific Significance Thresholds  13.10
      • 2.  Lead Agency Policies  13.11
      • 3.  Formally Adopted Thresholds of Significance  13.12
      • 4.  Regulatory Agency Performance Standards  13.13
      • 5.  Significance Standards Recommended by Regulatory Agencies  13.14
      • 6.  Standards in CEQA Guidelines Appendix G  13.15
      • 7.  Other Provisions of the CEQA Guidelines  13.16
    • C.  Effect of Comments Relating to Standards of Significance  13.17
  • IV.  SCOPE OF IMPACT ANALYSIS  13.18
    • A.  Identification of Issues to Be Analyzed  13.19
    • B.  Analysis of Direct Effects  13.20
    • C.  Impact Analysis Must Cover Entire Project  13.21
    • D.  Analysis of Indirect Effects  13.22
    • E.  Treatment of Economic and Social Effects
      • 1.  Must Be Related to Physical Impacts  13.23
      • 2.  May Be Considered if a Cause of Physical Changes  13.24
      • 3.  May Be Considered in Determining Whether Physical Changes Are Significant  13.25
    • F.  Standards for an Adequate Impact Assessment  13.26
  • V.  EXPLANATION OF IMPACT FINDINGS  13.27
    • A.  Description of Significant Impacts  13.28
    • B.  Description of Unavoidable Significant Impacts  13.29
    • C.  Description of Significant Irreversible Impacts  13.30
    • D.  Description of Insignificant Environmental Effects
      • 1.  EIR Must Indicate Reasons for Determining Impacts to Be Insignificant  13.31
      • 2.  Effect of Later, Differing Information  13.32
    • E.  Findings Should Accompany Each Section of EIR  13.33
    • F.  Comparison of Project’s Impacts and Benefits Not Required
      • 1.  Cost-Benefit Studies Not Required  13.34
      • 2.  Project’s Benefits May Be Identified  13.35
      • 3.  Relevant Economic and Social Information May Be Included  13.36
  • VI.  ANALYSIS OF CUMULATIVE IMPACTS
    • A.  Significant Cumulative Impacts Must Be Discussed  13.37
    • B.  Cumulative Impacts Defined  13.38
    • C.  Requirements for Analysis
      • 1.  Significant Cumulative Impacts Must Be Discussed  13.39
      • 2.  Insignificant Cumulative Impacts Should Be Discussed Briefly  13.40
    • D.  Framework for Analysis  13.41
      • 1.  List-of-Projects Method  13.42
      • 2.  Summary-of-Projections Method  13.43
    • E.  Required Scope of Analysis
      • 1.  Projects Causing Related Impacts  13.44
      • 2.  Geographic Scope  13.45
    • F.  Contents of Impact Analysis
      • 1.  Requirements for Adequate Analysis of Cumulative Impacts  13.46
      • 2.  Conclusory Discussion Not Sufficient  13.47
      • 3.  Level of Detail Required  13.48
      • 4.  Discussion May Incorporate Information in Previous EIRs  13.49
      • 5.  Discussion May Rely on Analysis in Prior Plans or EIRs  13.50
      • 6.  Format and Location of Discussion of Cumulative Impacts  13.51
    • G.  Determining Significance of Cumulative Impacts  13.52
    • H.  Mitigation of Cumulative Impacts  13.53
  • VII.  GROWTH-INDUCING IMPACTS
    • A.  EIR Must Analyze Growth-Inducing Impacts  13.54
    • B.  Practical Suggestions for Analyzing Growth-Inducing Impacts  13.55
  • VIII.  STANDARDS FOR EVALUATING PARTICULAR IMPACTS  13.56
    • A.  Archaeological Resources  13.57
    • B.  Historical Resources  13.58
    • C.  Energy Use  13.59
    • D.  Air Quality  13.60
    • E.  Biological Resources  13.61
    • F.  Water Supplies
      • 1.  Statutory Requirements  13.62
      • 2.  Standards for Impact Analysis  13.63
    • G.  Urban Decay  13.64
    • H.  Hazardous Waste and Release Sites  13.65
    • I.  Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change  13.66
    • J.  Seismic Safety  13.66A
    • K.  Visual and Aesthetic Resources  13.66B
    • L.  Tribal Cultural Resources  13.66C
    • M.  Transportation and Traffic  13.66D
    • N.  Parking Shortages  13.66E

14

Mitigation Measures

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  14.1
  • II.  EIR MUST DESCRIBE MITIGATION MEASURES FOR SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
    • A.  Standards for Discussion of Mitigation Measures  14.2
    • B.  When Identification of Mitigation Measures Is Required
      • 1.  Mitigation Required for Significant Environmental Impacts  14.3
      • 2.  Not Required for Insignificant Impacts  14.4
      • 3.  Mitigation Not Required for Economic and Social Effects  14.5
  • III.  WHAT IS A MITIGATION MEASURE?
    • A.  Definition of Mitigation  14.6
    • B.  Examples of Mitigation Measures by Category  14.7
  • IV.  DEVELOPING LEGALLY ADEQUATE MITIGATION MEASURES  14.8
    • A.  Effectiveness of Proposed Mitigation Measures  14.9
    • B.  Ineffective or Infeasible Measures Need Not Be Discussed  14.10
    • C.  Level of Specificity Required  14.11
    • D.  Deferred Formulation of Mitigation Measures  14.12
    • E.  Including Future Impact Studies in Mitigation Measures  14.13
    • F.  Payment of Fees as Mitigation  14.14
    • G.  Compliance With Regulatory Standards as Mitigation  14.15
    • H.  Incorporating Mitigation Measures Into Plan Policies  14.16
    • I.  Discussion of Significant Impacts Caused by Mitigation Measures  14.17
    • J.  Mitigation of Cumulative Impacts
      • 1.  Duty to Mitigate  14.18
      • 2.  Use of Fee-Based Mitigation Programs  14.19
      • 3.  Limitations on Project’s Share of Mitigation Costs  14.20
  • V.  MITIGATION STANDARDS FOR PARTICULAR TYPES OF IMPACTS  14.21
  • VI.  ENFORCEABILITY OF MITIGATION MEASURES
    • A.  Mitigation Measures Must Be Enforceable  14.22
    • B.  Agency Must Adopt Mitigation Monitoring Program  14.23
  • VII.  PUBLIC AGENCIES’ AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE MITIGATION
    • A.  Powers Available to Public Agencies  14.24
    • B.  Limitations on Agencies’ Authority to Require Mitigation
      • 1.  Specific Statutory Limitations
        • a.  CEQA Does Not Expand Agency Authority to Impose Conditions  14.25
        • b.  Legally Infeasible Mitigation Measures  14.26
        • c.  Limitations on Mitigation Measures That Reduce Housing Units  14.27
        • d.  Limitations on Mitigation Measures to Reduce School Impacts  14.28
        • e.  Limitations on Mitigation of Archaeological Impacts  14.29
        • f.  Limitations on Mitigation Measures That Reduce Vehicle Trips  14.30
        • g.  Treatment of Increased Demands on Public Facilities, Services, and Utilities  14.31
      • 2.  General Statutory Limitations  14.32
      • 3.  Constitutional Limitations  14.33
      • 4.  Use of EIR to Establish Reasonableness of Exaction  14.34
  • VIII.  CHANGES IN MITIGATION MEASURES AFTER PROJECT APPROVAL  14.35

15

Project Alternatives

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  15.1
  • II.  EIR MUST DISCUSS PROJECT ALTERNATIVES
    • A.  Overview  15.2
    • B.  Types of Alternatives  15.3
    • C.  Discussion of Alternatives Required Even if Project’s Impacts Will Be Mitigated  15.4
  • III.  SELECTING ALTERNATIVES FOR DISCUSSION IN EIR  15.5
    • A.  Threshold Criteria for Identifying Suitable Alternatives  15.6
      • 1.  Alternatives Must Reduce or Avoid Significant Environmental Impacts  15.7
      • 2.  Alternatives Must Implement Most Basic Project Objectives  15.8
      • 3.  Alternatives Must Be Potentially Feasible  15.9
        • a.  Economic Infeasibility  15.9A
        • b.  Legal Infeasibility  15.9B
        • c.  Feasibility Is Considered at Two Stages  15.9C
      • 4.  Alternatives Must Be Reasonable  15.10
    • B.  Identification of Reasonable Range of Alternatives for Review in EIR  15.11
      • 1.  Scope of Alternatives Comprising Reasonable Range  15.12
      • 2.  EIR Need Not Consider Multiple Variations on Alternatives  15.13
      • 3.  EIR Need Not Consider Alternatives That Do Not Offer Significant Environmental Advantages  15.14
      • 4.  EIR Need Not Consider Alternatives to Components of Project  15.15
    • C.  Procedure for Selecting Reasonable Range of Alternatives  15.16
    • D.  Standard for Adequacy of Range of Alternatives  15.17
  • IV.  DISCUSSION OF NO-PROJECT ALTERNATIVE  15.18
    • A.  Standards for Defining No-Project Alternative  15.19
    • B.  Application to Modifications of Policies or Ongoing Operations  15.20
    • C.  Application to New Development Projects  15.21
    • D.  Analysis of No-Project Alternative  15.22
  • V.  DISCUSSION OF ALTERNATIVE SITES  15.23
    • A.  When Discussion of Alternative Sites Is Appropriate  15.24
      • 1.  Private Projects Consistent With Land Use Plan  15.25
      • 2.  Proposals to Change Land Use Plan  15.26
      • 3.  Public Agency Projects  15.27
    • B.  Process for Screening Alternative Sites  15.28
    • C.  Criteria for Assessing Feasibility of Alternative Sites  15.29
      • 1.  Consistency With Plans and Regulatory Limitations  15.30
      • 2.  Ownership or Ability to Acquire Alternative Site  15.31
      • 3.  Jurisdictional Boundaries  15.32
      • 4.  Site Suitability and Availability of Infrastructure  15.33
      • 5.  Economic Viability  15.34
  • VI.  WHAT CONSTITUTES ADEQUATE DISCUSSION OF ALTERNATIVES  15.35
    • A.  Description and Analysis of Alternatives  15.36
    • B.  Identification of Environmentally Superior Alternative  15.37
    • C.  Describing Basis for Selection of Alternatives Discussed in EIR  15.38
    • D.  Explaining Reasons for Excluding Alternatives From EIR  15.39
  • VII.  TREATMENT OF ALTERNATIVES PROPOSED BY THE PUBLIC AND OTHER AGENCIES
    • A.  Lead Agency’s Duty to Present Reasonable Range of Alternatives Is Independent of Comments  15.40
    • B.  Treatment of Alternatives Suggested in Comments on Draft EIR  15.41
    • C.  Alternatives Proposed After Close of Public Comment Period  15.42

16

Final EIRs

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  16.1
  • II.  CHECKLIST: CONTENTS OF FINAL EIRs  16.2
  • III.  PREPARATION OF FINAL EIRs
    • A.  Requirements for Preparation  16.3
    • B.  Requirements for Approval  16.4
    • C.  Time Limits  16.5
    • D.  If Lead Agency Determines That Final EIR Is Inadequate  16.6
  • IV.  RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ON DRAFT EIR
    • A.  Legal Requirements  16.7
    • B.  Distribution of Responses  16.8
    • C.  Methods of Responding to Comments  16.9
    • D.  Who Prepares Responses  16.10
    • E.  Specificity Required in Responses  16.11
    • F.  Responses to Late Comments  16.12
  • V.  REVIEW OF FINAL EIR
    • A.  Public Review Optional  16.13
    • B.  Distribution of Responses to Commenting Agencies  16.14
  • VI.  RECIRCULATION OF EIR
    • A.  EIR Recirculation Standard
      • 1.  New Information Added to Final EIR  16.15
        • a.  Recirculation Required for Significant New Information  16.15A
        • b.  Recirculation Not Required for Clarifications or Minor Modifications  16.15B
        • c.  Recirculation for New Potentially Significant Impacts  16.15C
        • d.  Recirculation for New Mitigation Measures or Alternatives  16.15D
        • e.  Recirculation for Fundamentally Inadequate Draft EIR  16.15E
        • f.  Standard of Review for Agency Recirculation Determination  16.15F
      • 2.  No New Information Added to EIR  16.16
    • B.  Options for Recirculation  16.17
      • 1.  Recirculation of a Portion of the EIR  16.18
      • 2.  Recirculation of Entire Draft EIR  16.19
      • 3.  Recirculation of Draft of Final EIR  16.20
    • C.  Recirculation Procedure  16.21
  • VII.  DISPOSITION OF FINAL EIR  16.22

17

Project Approval and Findings

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  17.1
  • II.  CERTIFICATION OF EIR AND DECISION TO APPROVE PROJECT
    • A.  Requirements for Project Approval  17.2
      • 1.  Checklist: Requirements for Project Approval Following Preparation of EIR  17.3
      • 2.  Lead Agency Certification of Final EIR  17.4
        • a.  Certification That Final EIR Complies With CEQA  17.5
        • b.  Certification That Final EIR Reflects Agency’s Independent Judgment  17.6
        • c.  Certification That Decision-Makers Reviewed and Considered EIR Information  17.7
    • B.  Project Approval  17.8
      • 1.  Disapproval of Project  17.9
      • 2.  Approval of Project as Mitigated  17.10
      • 3.  Approval of Project Alternative  17.11
      • 4.  Approval of Project With Unavoidable Impacts  17.12
    • C.  Requirements for Adoption of Mitigation Measures  17.13
    • D.  Limitations on Mitigation Measures or Alternatives That Reduce Housing  17.14
    • E.  Notice and Hearing  17.15
  • III.  FINDINGS
    • A.  Findings Required for Significant Impacts  17.16
    • B.  Findings Not Required for Insignificant Impacts  17.17
    • C.  Findings Must Be Adopted by Decision-Making Body  17.18
      • 1.  Findings Concerning Mitigation of Significant Impacts  17.19
        • a.  Contents of Finding  17.20
        • b.  Basis for Finding Should Be Clear From Record  17.21
        • c.  Finding of Mitigation Should Be Supported by Evidence in Record  17.22
        • d.  Findings Rejecting Mitigation Measures  17.23
        • e.  Finding That Mitigation Is the Responsibility of Another Agency  17.24
      • 2.  Findings Concerning Project Alternatives
        • a.  Findings Requirement  17.25
        • b.  Findings Not Required if Project’s Impacts Are Mitigated  17.26
      • 3.  Findings That Mitigation Measures or Alternatives Are Infeasible  17.27
        • a.  Reasons Must Be Stated  17.28
        • b.  Basis for Infeasibility Finding
          • (1)  Inconsistency With Agency Goals or Policies  17.29
          • (2)  Failure to Meet Project Objectives  17.30
          • (3)  Economic Infeasibility  17.31
    • D.  Statement of Overriding Considerations
      • 1.  When Statement Required  17.32
      • 2.  Procedural Requirements  17.33
      • 3.  Contents  17.34
    • E.  Identification of Custodian of the Record and Maintenance of Approval Documents  17.35
    • F.  Form and Content of Findings
      • 1.  Legal Requirements  17.36
      • 2.  Agency Should Explain Link Between Findings and Facts  17.37
      • 3.  Types of Acceptable Findings  17.38
      • 4.  Contents of Written Findings  17.39
      • 5.  Form Findings Provisions  17.40
        • a.  Form: Air Quality Impacts That Will Be Mitigated  17.41
        • b.  Form: Significant Impacts on Wildlife Habitat  17.42
        • c.  Form: Rejecting No-Project Alternative  17.43
        • d.  Form: Statement of Overriding Considerations  17.44
        • e.  Form: Specifying the Location and Custodian of the Record  17.45
  • IV.  NOTICE OF DETERMINATION
    • A.  Required Contents  17.46
    • B.  Filing, Posting, and Mailing  17.47
  • V.  PAYMENT OF FISH AND GAME CODE FILING FEE
    • A.  Legal Requirements  17.48
    • B.  Payment Requirements  17.49
    • C.  Exemptions  17.50
    • D.  Effect of Failure to Pay Fee  17.51
  • VI.  PROJECT APPROVAL BY RESPONSIBLE AGENCIES  17.52
    • A.  Decision Whether to Approve Project  17.53
    • B.  Adoption of Mitigation Measures or Alternatives  17.54
    • C.  Adoption of Findings and Statement of Overriding Considerations  17.55
    • D.  Authority to Require Further Environmental Review  17.56

18

Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  18.1
  • II.  PURPOSE OF MITIGATION MONITORING  18.2
  • III.  PROJECTS COVERED BY MONITORING OR REPORTING REQUIREMENT
    • A.  Projects Based on EIRs or Mitigated Negative Declarations  18.3
    • B.  Functionally Equivalent Documents  18.4
    • C.  Subsequent Approvals for Projects Approved Before January 1, 1989  18.5
  • IV.  REQUIREMENTS FOR MONITORING OR REPORTING PROGRAMS
    • A.  When Program Must Be Adopted  18.6
    • B.  Monitoring or Reporting  18.7
    • C.  Types of Monitoring and Reporting Programs  18.8
    • D.  Incorporation of Mitigation Measures Into Governing Plan  18.9
    • E.  Frequency and Timing of Monitoring or Reporting  18.10
    • F.  Duration of Monitoring or Reporting Requirements  18.11
    • G.  Monitoring or Reporting Need Not Be Set Forth in EIR or Negative Declaration  18.12
    • H.  Remedies for Agency’s Failure to Adopt Program  18.13
  • V.  IMPLEMENTATION OF MONITORING OR REPORTING PROGRAM
    • A.  Enforcement Mechanisms  18.14
    • B.  Changes in Mitigation Measures as Result of Monitoring  18.15
    • C.  Coordination With Responsible and Trustee Agencies  18.16
      • 1.  Contents of Reporting or Monitoring Program  18.17
      • 2.  Performance Objectives or Guidelines  18.18
    • D.  Coordination With Transportation Planning Agencies  18.19
    • E.  Format for Mitigation Monitoring or Reporting Progress  18.20

19

Subsequent CEQA Review

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  19.1
  • II.  WHEN FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW IS REQUIRED
    • A.  Legal Requirements  19.2
    • B.  Methods of Further Review  19.3
      • 1.  Subsequent EIR  19.4
      • 2.  Supplemental EIR  19.5
      • 3.  Addendum to EIR  19.6
      • 4.  Subsequent Negative Declaration  19.7
      • 5.  Addendum to Negative Declaration  19.8
  • III.  STATUTORY TRIGGERS FOR PREPARATION OF SUBSEQUENT OR SUPPLEMENTAL EIR
    • A.  Change in Project
      • 1.  Legal Requirements  19.9
      • 2.  Magnitude of Project Changes  19.10
      • 3.  New Significant Impacts
        • a.  Changes Must Result in New or More Severe Significant Impacts  19.11
        • b.  Effect of Measures that Will Mitigate Potential New or More Severe Impacts  19.12
      • 4.  Were Impacts Previously Considered?  19.13
    • B.  Change in Circumstances
      • 1.  Legal Requirements  19.14
      • 2.  Changed Circumstances Must Be Substantial  19.15
      • 3.  Changed Circumstances Must Create New or More Severe Significant Impacts  19.16
      • 4.  Consideration in Previous EIR or Negative Declaration  19.17
    • C.  Availability of New Information
      • 1.  Legal Requirements  19.18
      • 2.  Information Must Have Become Available After EIR Was Certified or Negative Declaration Was Approved  19.19
      • 3.  New Information Must Be of Substantial Importance to Project  19.20
      • 4.  New Information Must Not Have Been Previously Available  19.21
  • IV.  WHEN MUST FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW BE CONSIDERED?  19.22
    • A.  Before Initial Project Approval by Lead Agency  19.23
      • 1.  Before Completion of Final EIR  19.24
      • 2.  After Completion, But Before Certification, of Final EIR  19.25
      • 3.  After Certification of Final EIR  19.26
      • 4.  After Adoption of Negative Declaration  19.27
    • B.  Before Approval by Responsible Agency
      • 1.  Duty to Evaluate Need for Further EIR  19.28
      • 2.  Preparation of Further EIR by Responsible Agency  19.29
    • C.  Before Further Project Approval by Lead Agency  19.30
    • D.  After All Discretionary Approvals Have Been Granted  19.31
    • E.  When Significant Changes to a Previously Approved Project Are Proposed  19.32
    • F.  Determining Whether CEQA’s Subsequent Review Provisions or its Initial Review Provisions Apply to a Project  19.33
  • V.  APPLICATION OF SUBSEQUENT REVIEW STANDARDS WHEN PREVIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENT WAS NOT PROJECT EIR
    • A.  Previous Negative Declaration  19.34
    • B.  Previous Determination of Exemption  19.35
    • C.  Special Situations  19.36
  • VI.  PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING WHETHER TO REQUIRE FURTHER EIR
    • A.  Determination of Whether Further EIR Required  19.37
    • B.  Basis for Agency Decision  19.38
      • 1.  Issues Agency Considers  19.39
      • 2.  Standards for Agency’s Evaluation of the Evidence  19.40
    • C.  Procedures for Agency’s Determination  19.41
      • 1.  Use of Addendum to Prior EIR or Negative Declaration  19.42
      • 2.  Use of Subsequent Negative Declaration  19.43
      • 3.  Use of Initial Study Form  19.44
      • 4.  Any Procedure That Results in Fact-Based Determination Is Sufficient  19.45
        • a.  Findings Not Required  19.46
        • b.  Recertification of EIR Not Required  19.47
    • D.  Public Participation
      • 1.  Opportunity to Comment  19.48
      • 2.  Public Hearings  19.49
    • E.  Findings Concerning New Significant Impacts  19.50
      • 1.  Lead Agencies  19.51
      • 2.  Responsible Agencies  19.52
    • F.  Notice of Determination  19.53
  • VII.  SCOPE OF SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW  19.54
  • VIII.  STANDARDS FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW  19.55

20

Relationship Between CEQA and Other Statutes and Programs

  • I.  LAND USE, PLANNING, AND ZONING  20.1
    • A.  Local Planning Law
      • 1.  General and Specific Plans  20.2
      • 2.  Relationship Between General Plan and CEQA  20.3
      • 3.  General Plan Activities Exempt From CEQA  20.4
      • 4.  Combining General Plan and General Plan EIR  20.5
    • B.  Other Planning Laws  20.6
    • C.  Local Zoning Laws
      • 1.  Local Zoning Ordinances  20.7
      • 2.  Relationship to CEQA  20.8
    • D.  Subdivision Map Act
      • 1.  Environmental Review Under Map Act  20.9
      • 2.  Map Act Time Limits  20.10
    • E.  Processing Time Limits Under CEQA, Subdivision Map Act, and Permit Streamlining Act
      • 1.  General CEQA Provisions for Projects With Short Time Periods for Approval  20.11
      • 2.  CEQA and Subdivision Map Act Time Limits  20.12
      • 3.  CEQA and Permit Streamlining Act Requirements  20.13
        • a.  Time Limits  20.14
        • b.  Judicial Interpretation of Act  20.15
        • c.  Relationship Between Act and CEQA  20.16
    • F.  Redevelopment Law and Successor Agencies
      • 1.  Successor Agencies After 2011 Abolition of Redevelopment Agencies  20.17
      • 2.  Previously Adopted Redevelopment Plans  20.17A
      • 3.  CEQA Provisions Governing Actions Under Redevelopment Plan  20.17B
    • G.  Regional Land Use and Planning Statutes
      • 1.  California Coastal Act  20.18
      • 2.  Regional Commissions  20.19
        • a.  San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission  20.20
        • b.  Tahoe Regional Planning Agency  20.21
        • c.  Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy  20.22
        • d.  Delta Protection Commission  20.23
        • e.  Central Valley Flood Protection Board  20.24
    • H.  Williamson Act  20.25
    • I.  Vested Rights Doctrine and Vesting Mechanisms  20.26
      • 1.  Vested Rights Doctrine  20.27
      • 2.  Development Agreements  20.28
      • 3.  Vesting Subdivision Maps  20.29
      • 4.  Vested Rights Considerations in CEQA Decisions
        • a.  Inclusion of Development Agreement or Vesting Map in Project Description  20.30
        • b.  Coordinating Mitigation Measures and Mitigation Monitoring  20.31
        • c.  Development Agreement Provisions on Subsequent CEQA Review  20.32
        • d.  Application of CEQA to Projects With Vested Rights  20.33
    • J.  Annexations; Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act  20.34
    • K.  Other Land Use Laws and Regulations
      • 1.  Integrated Waste Management Act  20.35
      • 2.  Hazardous Waste Management Plans  20.36
      • 3.  Seismic Safety  20.37
      • 4.  Flood Prevention  20.38
      • 5.  Airport Land Use Planning  20.39
      • 6.  Family Day Care Zoning  20.40
      • 7.  Solar Shade Control  20.41
  • II.  ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND HAZARDOUS SITES  20.42
    • A.  Application of CEQA to Rulemaking Proceedings  20.43
    • B.  Application of CEQA to Permitting and Cleanup Actions
      • 1.  Role of Lead and Responsible Agencies  20.44
      • 2.  Permit Coordination Procedures  20.45
    • C.  Provisions for Streamlined CEQA Review of Projects Implementing Pollution Control Regulations  20.46
    • D.  CEQA Exemptions That May Apply to Actions Protecting the Environment
      • 1.  List of Possible Exemptions  20.47
      • 2.  Exemption Procedure  20.48
    • E.  Hazardous Substance Issues and CEQA
      • 1.  “Cortese” List of Hazardous Waste Sites  20.49
      • 2.  Review of Hazardous Substance Issues in CEQA Documents  20.50
      • 3.  Special Provisions on Hazardous Waste Management Facilities  20.51
      • 4.  Mandatory EIR Requirements for Certain Hazardous Waste Facilities  20.52
  • III.  PROTECTED SPECIES
    • A.  Statutes Protecting Special Status Species  20.53
    • B.  Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA)
      • 1.  Prohibition of Taking Listed Species  20.54
      • 2.  Section 7 Consultations for Federal Agency Approvals  20.55
      • 3.  Section 10 Incidental Take Permits and Habitat Conservation Plans  20.56
    • C.  California Endangered Species Act (CESA)
      • 1.  Prohibition of Taking Listed Species  20.57
      • 2.  Incidental Take Approvals  20.58
    • D.  Natural Resource Protection Plans
      • 1.  Natural Community Conservation Plans  20.59
      • 2.  Wildlife Protection Management Plans  20.60
    • E.  Other Fish and Game Code Species Protections
      • 1.  Fully Protected Species  20.60A
      • 2.  Protections for Bird Nests and Eggs  20.60B
      • 3.  Protections for Raptors  20.60C
    • F.  Treatment of Endangered Species Under CEQA
      • 1.  Definitions  20.61
      • 2.  Consultation Requirements  20.62
      • 3.  Exceptions to Categorical Exemptions  20.63
      • 4.  EIR Preparation Requirement  20.64
      • 5.  EIR Thresholds of Significance  20.65
      • 6.  Impact Analysis and Mitigation  20.66
  • IV.  WETLANDS  20.67
    • A.  Federal Regulations  20.68
      • 1.  Definition of Wetlands  20.69
      • 2.  Army Corps of Engineers Permitting Process  20.70
        • a.  General and Nationwide Permits  20.71
        • b.  Individual Permits  20.72
    • B.  California Wetlands Regulation  20.73
    • C.  CEQA and Wetlands Regulation  20.74
  • V.  WATER SUPPLIES
    • A.  Statutes Related to Adequacy of Water Supplies  20.75
    • B.  SB 610 Water Supply Assessments  20.76
    • C.  SB 221 Water Supply Verifications  20.77
    • D.  Urban Water Management Plans  20.78
    • E.  Other Statutes Related to Evaluation of Water Supply Issues  20.79
    • F.  CEQA Requirements for Evaluation of Water Supply Impacts  20.80
  • VI.  GREENHOUSE GAS (GHG) EMISSIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
    • A.  Background  20.81
    • B.  Currently Available Guidance Documents  20.81A
    • C.  Effect of Evolving Regulatory Standards  20.81B
    • D.  Recent Developments Relating to Climate Change Issues  20.81C
    • E.  Suggestions for Analysis of Climate Change Issues  20.81D
      • 1.  Determine Whether Evaluation Required  20.82
      • 2.  Evaluate Issue as a Cumulative Impact  20.83
      • 3.  Determine Appropriate Time Horizon for Analysis  20.83A
      • 4.  Describe Preproject Conditions and Project Contribution  20.84
      • 5.  Evaluate Mitigation  20.85
      • 6.  Evaluate Significance of the Project’s Contribution  20.86
        • a.  Qualitative Determinations  20.86A
        • b.  Using AB 32 Compliance to Determine Significance  20.86B
        • c.  Using Air District Significance Thresholds  20.86C
        • d.  Using Agency-Developed Thresholds  20.86D
        • e.  Finding That Any Significance Determination Would Be Speculative  20.86E
    • F.  Suggestions for Analyzing Climate Change Impacts on a Project  20.87
    • G.  Climate Change, Negative Declarations, and Exemptions  20.88
    • H.  SB 375: Linking Transportation, Land Use, and CEQA to Reduce GHG Emissions
      • 1.  Overview of SB 375 Transportation Planning and GHG Reduction Provisions  20.88A
      • 2.  Streamlined Review for Consistent Residential Projects  20.88B
      • 3.  Streamlining for Transit Priority Projects
        • a.  Definition of Transit Priority Project  20.88C
        • b.  Statutory Exemption for Certain Transit Priority Projects  20.88D
        • c.  Streamlined Review for Transit Priority Projects That Incorporate Prior Mitigation  20.88E
          • (1)  Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessments  20.88F
          • (2)  Streamlined EIRs  20.88G
        • d.  Optional Limitations on Traffic Mitigation  20.88H
  • VII.  HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES  20.89
    • A.  Historic Preservation Law in California  20.90
    • B.  CEQA and Preservation of Historic Resources
      • 1.  Discretionary Versus Ministerial Activity  20.91
      • 2.  Categorical and Emergency Exemptions  20.92
      • 3.  Segmentation of Projects  20.93
    • C.  Determination of Whether Site Is Historical Resource  20.94
      • 1.  Mandatory Historical Resources  20.95
      • 2.  Presumptive Historical Resources  20.96
      • 3.  Discretionary Historical Resources  20.97
      • 4.  Effect of Listing Criteria  20.98
    • D.  Assessing and Mitigating Impacts to Historical Resources  20.99
    • E.  Tribal Cultural Resources  20.100
  • VIII.  ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES AND NATIVE AMERICAN BURIAL SITES  20.101
    • A.  Federal Requirements  20.102
    • B.  State Requirements
      • 1.  Statutes Governing Native American Sites and Human Remains  20.103
      • 2.  CEQA Standards for Archaeological Resources  20.104
      • 3.  Assessing Impacts to Archaeological Resources  20.105
      • 4.  Standards for Mitigating Impacts to Unique Archaeological Resources
        • a.  Methods for Mitigating Impacts  20.106
        • b.  Cost Limits for Required Mitigation  20.107
        • c.  Time Limits on Completion of Mitigation  20.108
        • d.  Resources Discovered During Construction  20.109
        • e.  Other Provisions  20.110
      • 5.  Mitigation Standards for Impacts to Historic Archaeological Resources  20.111
  • IX.  RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS
    • A.  Provisions of CEQA Relating to Housing  20.112
      • 1.  Exemptions Relating to Housing Projects  20.113
      • 2.  Streamlined Review Procedures for Certain Housing Projects  20.114
      • 3.  Limitations on Reducing Housing Units as Mitigation  20.115
    • B.  Bureau of Real Estate (BRE)
      • 1.  BRE’s Limited Role in CEQA Approvals  20.116
      • 2.  BRE Concerns Regarding CEQA Mitigation Measures  20.117
  • X.  SCHOOLS AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
    • A.  Higher Education Sites and Long-Range Plans  20.118
    • B.  Local School District Decisions
      • 1.  Time for CEQA Compliance  20.119
      • 2.  Consultation Requirements  20.120
      • 3.  Requirements for School Siting Analysis  20.121
    • C.  Imposition of School Fees  20.122
    • D.  Exemptions Relating to Schools
      • 1.  School Closings  20.123
      • 2.  School Land Bank Acquisitions  20.124
      • 3.  Educational Facilities Bonds  20.125
  • XI.  ENERGY FACILITIES
    • A.  Energy Facility Siting  20.126
    • B.  Thermal Power Plants  20.127
    • C.  Geothermal Energy Exploration  20.128
    • D.  Oil and Gas Production; Hydraulic Fracturing   20.129
  • XII.  ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
    • A.  Congestion Management and Transportation Improvement Programs  20.130
    • B.  Caltrans Encroachment Permits  20.131
    • C.  Consultation Requirements  20.132
    • D.  Acquisition of Property for Designated Transportation Corridors  20.133
    • E.  Master EIR for Highway Projects  20.134
    • F.  Highway Segmentation Issues  20.135
  • XIII.  MINING AND MINERAL RESOURCES
    • A.  Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA)  20.136
    • B.  Relationship Between CEQA and SMARA  20.137
    • C.  EIR Requirement for Certain Open-Pit Mines  20.138
    • D.  Projects Affecting Mineral Resource Areas  20.139
    • E.  CEQA Cases Relating to Mining Projects  20.140
  • XIV.  STATE LANDS
    • A.  State Lands Commission Jurisdiction  20.141
    • B.  Statutory Exemptions for Certain Commission Actions  20.142
    • C.  CEQA Compliance by Commission  20.143
    • D.  Special Hearing Requirements  20.144
    • E.  Commission’s CEQA Guidelines  20.145
  • XV.  CEQA REQUIREMENTS FOR OTHER CATEGORIES OF PROJECTS
    • A.  Loan and Grant Applications  20.146
    • B.  Military Base Reuse Plans  20.147
    • C.  Jail and Prison Projects  20.148
    • D.  Projects in Depressed Urban Areas  20.149
    • E.  Projects in State Parks  20.150
    • F.  Projects Located Outside California  20.151
    • G.  Aquaculture Projects  20.152
    • H.  Other CEQA Provisions for Particular Projects  20.153
  • XVI.  FEDERAL PREEMPTION OF CEQA  20.154

21

Certified Regulatory Programs

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  21.1
  • II.  LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
    • A.  Nature of Exemption  21.2
    • B.  Implied Exemptions Are Precluded  21.3
    • C.  Certification Criteria  21.4
    • D.  Procedures for Certification and Decertification  21.5
      • 1.  Notice Requirements  21.6
      • 2.  Hearing and Comment Procedures  21.7
      • 3.  Natural Resources Agency’s Determination  21.8
    • E.  Effect of Certification  21.9
  • III.  LIST OF CERTIFIED PROGRAMS  21.10
  • IV.  SCOPE OF CERTIFIED REGULATORY PROGRAM EXEMPTION
    • A.  Exemption From CEQA Documentation Requirements  21.11
    • B.  Documentation in Lieu of EIRs  21.12
      • 1.  Content Requirements  21.13
      • 2.  Requirements for Impact Analysis  21.14
      • 3.  Requirement to Describe Alternatives and Mitigation Measures  21.15
      • 4.  Applicant’s Duty to Submit Data  21.16
      • 5.  Evidentiary Basis for Conclusions  21.17
      • 6.  Review and Comment Requirements  21.18
      • 7.  Notice of Decision  21.19
    • C.  Documentation in Lieu of Negative Declarations
      • 1.  Content Requirements  21.20
      • 2.  Reliance on Mitigation Measures  21.21
    • D.  Exemptions From a Certified Regulatory Program  21.22
    • E.  Use of Environmental Document by Responsible Agency  21.23
  • V.  JUDICIAL REVIEW
    • A.  Certification and Decertification Decisions  21.24
    • B.  Adequacy of Environmental Documents  21.25

22

Joint Federal-State Environmental Documents

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  22.1
  • II.  RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NEPA AND CEQA
    • A.  Historical Development and Key Characteristics of NEPA  22.2
    • B.  Table: Comparison of NEPA and CEQA  22.3
    • C.  Courts’ Reliance on NEPA Cases in Construing CEQA  22.4
    • D.  Procedural or Substantive Statutes?  22.5
  • III.  COORDINATION OF REVIEW UNDER CEQA AND NEPA
    • A.  Methods for Avoiding Duplication  22.6
    • B.  Preparation of Environmental Documents
      • 1.  Document Must Fulfill Requirements of Both NEPA and CEQA  22.7
      • 2.  Using NEPA Document as a Later CEQA Document  22.8
      • 3.  Preparation of Joint EIR/EIS  22.9
      • 4.  Preparation of Joint Negative Declaration/FONSI  22.10
      • 5.  Using CEQA Document as a Later NEPA Document  22.11
    • C.  CEQA Time Limits May Be Waived  22.12
  • IV.  DETERMINING WHETHER PROJECT IS SUBJECT TO NEPA
    • A.  Role of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  22.13
      • 1.  Rating of Project’s Impacts  22.14
      • 2.  Rating of EIS Analysis  22.15
    • B.  Federal Lead Agency Concept  22.16
    • C.  Project Must Be a Major Federal Action  22.17
    • D.  Project Must Not Be Exempt From NEPA Coverage
      • 1.  Categorical Exclusions  22.18
      • 2.  Statutory Exemptions  22.19
      • 3.  Functional Exemptions  22.20
    • E.  Project Must Have Significant Environmental Effect  22.21
  • V.  APPLICATION OF NEPA TO CALIFORNIA PROJECTS
    • A.  Level of Federal Involvement Required to Trigger NEPA  22.22
    • B.  Application to Projects Requiring Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands Permits
      • 1.  Requirements for Wetlands Permits  22.23
      • 2.  EIS Requirements for Individual Permits  22.24
      • 3.  Application of NEPA to Nationwide Permits  22.25

23

CEQA Litigation

  • I.  HIGHLIGHTS  23.1
  • II.  TYPES OF JUDICIAL CHALLENGES TO CEQA DECISIONS  23.2
  • III.  PARTIES
    • A.  Petitioner
      • 1.  Basis for Standing Requirements  23.3
      • 2.  Individual Standing
        • a.  Beneficial Interest Standing
          • (1)  Beneficial Interest Defined  23.4
          • (2)  Application of Test in CEQA Cases  23.5
        • b.  Public Interest Standing
          • (1)  Enforcement of Public Duty  23.6
          • (2)  Application of Test in CEQA Cases  23.7
        • c.  Taxpayer Standing
          • (1)  Taxpayer Standing Defined  23.8
          • (2)  Application of Test in CEQA Cases  23.9
        • d.  Standing When Petitioner Lacks Environmental Interest  23.10
      • 3.  Standing of Associations  23.11
      • 4.  Standing of Public Agencies and Officials  23.12
      • 5.  Procedural Requirements Concerning Standing
        • a.  Pleading Requirements  23.13
        • b.  Proof at Trial  23.14
    • B.  Respondent  23.15
    • C.  Real Party in Interest  23.16
  • IV.  TIME PERIOD FOR FILING CEQA ACTION  23.17
    • A.  Checklists of Limitations Periods for Filing Action Challenging Agency’s CEQA Decision
      • 1.  Checklist: Limitations Periods Listed by Type of CEQA Decision  23.18
      • 2.  Checklist: Limitations Periods Listed by Time Periods  23.19
    • B.  Limitations Period Following Notice of Determination or Exemption  23.20
      • 1.  Limitations Period Triggered by Filing and Posting Notice  23.21
      • 2.  Shorter Limitations Periods Do Not Apply if Notice Is Defective  23.22
      • 3.  Effect of Actual Notice  23.23
    • C.  Limitations Periods When Notice of Determination or Exemption Has Not Been Filed
      • 1.  Applicability of 180-Day Limitations Period  23.24
      • 2.  Events Triggering 180-Day Limitations Period  23.25
    • D.  Multiple Project Approvals
      • 1.  Subsequent Action by Lead Agency  23.26
      • 2.  Subsequent Action by Responsible Agency  23.27
    • E.  Tolling Statute of Limitations  23.28
    • F.  Relationship to Other Statutes of Limitations  23.29
    • G.  Effect of Failure to Challenge Agency Decision Within Limitations Period
      • 1.  Lead Agency Decisions  23.30
      • 2.  Responsible Agency Decisions  23.31
  • V.  STANDARD OF REVIEW
    • A.  Governing Statutes  23.32
    • B.  Statutory Standard of Review  23.33
      • 1.  Substantial Evidence Test  23.34
      • 2.  Failure to Proceed in Manner Required by Law  23.35
      • 3.  Prejudicial Error
        • a.  Discretion to Find Error Nonprejudicial Under Pub Res C §21005  23.36
        • b.  Case Law on Prejudicial Error  23.37
      • 4.  Independent Judgment Test Not Applicable  23.38
  • VI.  FORM OF PROCEEDING
    • A.  Governing Statutes  23.39
    • B.  Distinction Between Review Under Pub Res C §21168 and Under Pub Res C §21168.5  23.40
    • C.  Is Review Governed by Pub Res C §21168 or §21168.5?  23.41
      • 1.  Adjudicative Approvals  23.42
      • 2.  Administrative Approvals  23.43
      • 3.  Quasi-Legislative Approvals  23.44
    • D.  Declaratory Relief  23.45
    • E.  Proceedings to Enforce Procedural Requirements  23.46
    • F.  Venue Issues in CEQA Cases  23.47
  • VII.  SCOPE OF REVIEW
    • A.  Admissibility of Extrarecord Evidence  23.48
      • 1.  In Administrative Mandamus Proceedings  23.49
      • 2.  In Ordinary Mandamus Proceedings to Review a Quasi-Legislative Decision  23.50
        • a.  To Determine Whether Decision Is Supported by Substantial Evidence  23.51
        • b.  To Determine Whether Agency Proceeded in Manner Required by Law  23.52
        • c.  For Other Purposes  23.53
      • 3.  In Ordinary Mandamus Proceedings to Review an Administrative Decision  23.54
        • a.  Rule in Non-CEQA Cases  23.55
        • b.  Rule in CEQA Cases  23.56
      • 4.  Exceptions to Rule Against Admission of Additional Evidence
        • a.  Excluded or Unavailable Evidence  23.57
        • b.  Other Evidence  23.58
    • B.  Joinder of Causes of Action
      • 1.  When Only CEQA Decision Is Challenged  23.59
      • 2.  When Independent Grounds for Relief Are Alleged  23.60
  • VIII.  PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS  23.61
    • A.  Checklist: Procedural Steps in CEQA Litigation  23.62
    • B.  Procedural Steps in CEQA Litigation
      • 1.  Notice of Proceeding  23.63
      • 2.  Checklist: Allegations in Petition for Writ of Mandate  23.64
      • 3.  Service Requirements
        • a.  Service on Respondent  23.65
        • b.  Service on Real Party in Interest  23.66
        • c.  Service on Attorney General  23.67
        • d.  Notification of Responsible and Trustee Agencies  23.68
      • 4.  Preparation of Record
        • a.  Request for Preparation of Record  23.69
        • b.  Time for Preparation of Record  23.70
        • c.  Preparation of Record by Petitioner  23.71
        • d.  Payment of Cost of Preparation  23.72
        • e.  Optional Process for Preparation of Record Concurrently with CEQA Process  23.72A
        • f.  Contents of Record  23.73
        • g.  Lodging or Filing Record With Court  23.74
        • h.  Effect of Failure to Submit Record  23.75
      • 5.  Time to Respond to Petition  23.76
      • 6.  Mandatory Settlement Meeting  23.77
        • a.  Notice Procedure  23.78
        • b.  Settlement Meeting  23.79
        • c.  Sanctions for Noncompliance  23.80
      • 7.  Statement of Issues  23.81
      • 8.  Setting the Hearing and Briefing Schedule on the Petition
        • a.  Time to Request Hearing  23.82
        • b.  Procedure for Setting Hearing and Briefing Schedule  23.83
  • IX.  RELIEF PENDING DECISION ON MERITS
    • A.  Effect of Pending Litigation
      • 1.  Effect on Lead Agency and Project Applicant  23.84
      • 2.  Effect on Responsible Agencies  23.85
    • B.  Preliminary Relief  23.86
      • 1.  Stay Orders
        • a.  In Administrative Mandamus Actions  23.87
        • b.  In Traditional Mandamus Actions  23.88
      • 2.  Injunctive Relief  23.89
        • a.  Legal Basis  23.90
        • b.  Procedure  23.91
        • c.  Test for Preliminary Injunctive Relief  23.92
        • d.  Undertaking Requirement  23.93
          • (1)  Requirement for Approved Construction Projects  23.94
          • (2)  Requirement for Certain Housing Projects  23.95
    • C.  Interlocutory Remand  23.96
  • X.  DEFENSES
    • A.  Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies  23.97
      • 1.  Grounds for Claiming Noncompliance With CEQA  23.98
      • 2.  Objection to Project Approval
        • a.  Who Must Object?  23.99
        • b.  Exception for Organizations  23.100
      • 3.  When Issues Must Be Raised  23.101
      • 4.  Pursuit of Administrative Remedies
        • a.  Presentation to Decision-Making Body  23.102
        • b.  Administrative Appeals  23.103
        • c.  Rehearing and Reconsideration  23.104
      • 5.  Exceptions to Exhaustion Doctrine
        • a.  No Opportunity to Raise Objections  23.105
        • b.  Required Notice Not Provided  23.106
        • c.  Misleading Notice  23.107
        • d.  Public Rights Exception  23.108
        • e.  Futility  23.109
    • B.  Ripeness  23.110
    • C.  Finality of Administrative Decision  23.111
    • D.  Laches  23.112
    • E.  Mootness
      • 1.  General Rules  23.113
      • 2.  Special Rules Relating to Appeals  23.114
  • XI.  SETTLEMENT  23.115
  • XII.  TRIAL COURT DECISION AND SCOPE OF RELIEF
    • A.  Statement of Decision  23.116
    • B.  Judgment  23.117
      • 1.  Judgment for Petitioner  23.118
      • 2.  Judgment for Respondent  23.119
    • C.  Peremptory Writ of Mandate  23.120
      • 1.  Return to Peremptory Writ  23.121
      • 2.  Service of Peremptory Writ  23.122
    • D.  Contents of Peremptory Writ  23.123
      • 1.  Mandatory and Prohibitory Relief  23.124
      • 2.  Corrective Action  23.125
    • E.  Procedures for Compliance With Peremptory Writ  23.125A
  • XIII.  ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS
    • A.  Fees Under Private Attorney General Statute (CCP §1021.5)  23.126
      • 1.  Conditions to Fee Award Under CCP §1021.5
        • a.  Enforcement of Important Right Affecting Public Interest  23.127
        • b.  Significant Public Benefit  23.128
        • c.  Necessity and Financial Burden of Private Enforcement  23.129
      • 2.  Other Factors Affecting Fee Award Under CCP §1021.5
        • a.  Procedural Requirements  23.130
        • b.  Degree of Success on the Merits  23.131
        • c.  Voluntary Compliance or Settlement Not a Bar to Award  23.132
        • d.  Parties Subject to Statute
          • (1)  Public Entities  23.133
          • (2)  Real Party in Interest  23.134
          • (3)  Prevailing Respondent  23.135
      • 3.  Appellate Review of Fee Awards  23.136
    • B.  Substantial Benefit Doctrine  23.137
    • C.  Arbitrary Conduct by Public Agency (Govt C §800)  23.138
    • D.  Bad Faith  23.139
    • E.  Costs  23.139A
  • XIV.  APPEALS  23.140
    • A.  Appealable Orders  23.141
    • B.  Preparation of Record  23.142
    • C.  Briefing and Hearing Schedule  23.143
    • D.  Scope of Review and Relief on Appeal  23.144
    • E.  Appellate Review by Mandamus  23.145
  • XV.  SPECIAL SITUATIONS IN CEQA LITIGATION
    • A.  Asserting CEQA Claims in Validating Actions  23.146
      • 1.  When Validating Action Procedures Are Required  23.147
      • 2.  Procedures for Validating Actions  23.148
      • 3.  Statute of Limitations for Validating Actions  23.149
      • 4.  Application to Redevelopment Agency and Successor Agency Actions  23.150
      • 5.  Application to LAFCO Actions  23.151
    • B.  CEQA Claim as Defense to Condemnation Action  23.152
    • C.  Public Utilities and Energy Commission Decisions  23.153
    • D.  Judicial Review for Environmental Leadership Development Projects  23.153A
    • E.  Litigation Against Parties Participating in CEQA Process  23.154
      • 1.  Claims Based on Misuse of Legal Process  23.155
      • 2.  Defamation Actions  23.156
      • 3.  Damages Claims  23.157
      • 4.  Challenges to Tax-Exempt Status  23.158
      • 5.  Restrictions on SLAPP Suits  23.159
  • XVI.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Notice of Intent to File CEQA Petition  23.160
    • B.  Form: Petition for Writ of Mandate (Challenge to Adequacy of EIR and Findings)  23.161
    • C.  Form: Notice to Attorney General  23.162
    • D.  Form: Request for Preparation of Record of Proceedings  23.163
    • E.  Form: Order Directing Issuance of Alternative Writ of Mandate  23.164
    • F.  Form: Alternative Writ of Mandate  23.165
    • G.  Form: Order to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order  23.166
    • H.  Form: Case Management Stipulation and Order  23.167
    • I.  Form: Stipulation and Order Regarding Statement of Issues and Briefing and Hearing Schedule  23.168
    • J.  Form: Notice of Settlement Meeting  23.169
    • K.  Form: Statement of Issues to Be Raised in Briefs or at Hearing  23.170
    • L.  Form: Notice of Motion and Motion for Peremptory Writ of Mandate  23.171
    • M.  Form: Order Granting Petition for Writ of Mandate  23.172
    • N.  Form: Judgment Granting Peremptory Writ of Mandate  23.173
    • O.  Form: Peremptory Writ of Mandate  23.174

Selected Developments

March 2018 Update

This update includes discussion and analysis of recent CEQA cases, and addresses the most significant statutory and regulatory changes since the previous update was published. The most significant developments and improvements in this book since the last update are the following:

2017 Legislation

In 2017, the legislature enacted a package of bills designed to respond to the housing crisis, with relatively few CEQA provisions. The legislature also enacted a few minor CEQA provisions (see §1.26F). The bills are summarized below:

  • Assembly Bill 246 (Stats 2017, ch 522) extended the provisions of AB 900 (Stats 2011, ch 354) for expedited review of environmental leadership development projects through 2021.

  • Pub Res C §§21180–21186. See §§10.59–10.61. Assembly Bill 1218 (Stats 2017, ch 147) extended the statutory exemption for bicycle lane restriping through 2021. Pub Res C §§21080.20, 21080.20.5.

  • Senate Bill 35 (Stats 2017, ch 366) establishes a ministerial process for review of multifamily projects in areas that have not met regional housing needs, if the project meets long list of other requirements. Govt C §65913.4. See §§1.26F, 20.114.

  • Assembly Bill 73 (Stats 2017, ch 371) authorizes the approval of housing sustainability districts following certification of an EIR, with future approvals then to be issued based on that EIR. Govt C §§66200–66210. The bill also requires lead agencies to prepare an EIR when designating a housing sustainability district, and exempts from CEQA housing projects undertaken in housing sustainability districts that meet certain requirements. Pub Res C §§21155.10–21155.11.

Late 2016 through late 2017 Cases

Supreme Court Decisions

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, the supreme court held that the EIR was legally inadequate because it failed to include an analysis of whether lands within the project site would potentially qualify as environmentally sensitive habitat areas under the Coastal Act. See §§1.23, 8.5, 11.2, 11.22, 11.43, 15.8, 16.7, 16.11, 23.36.

In Cleveland Nat’l Forest Found. v San Diego Ass’n of Gov’ts (2017) 3 C5th 497, the supreme court held that the EIR for a regional transportation plan was not required to provide an analysis of consistency of greenhouse gas emissions projected for 2050 with 2050 goals set in Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2005 executive order on greenhouse gas emissions. See §§1.23, 11.2, 11.22, 11.28, 11.34, 13.26, 13.28, 16.7, 16.11, 23.33, 23.114.

In Friends of the Eel River v North Coast R.R. Auth. (2017) 3 C5th 677, the supreme court held that application of CEQA to a railroad project undertaken by a state public entity together with a private entity is not preempted as regulation of rail transportation under the federal ICC Termination Act of 1995, but that CEQA cannot provide the basis for an injunction against the private rail operator’s freight operations. See §§1.23, 3.50, 20.154.

On December 22, 2017, the North Coast Railroad Authority filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Friends of the Eel River (SCOTUS No. 17–915).

Overview of CEQA Process (chap 1)

The decision in East Sacramento Partnerships for a Livable City v City of Sacramento (2016) 5 CA5th 281 joins a now well-established line of cases holding that CEQA is limited to analysis of impacts of a proposed project on the environment and does not require analysis of impacts of the existing environment on the proposed project. See §§1.23, 4.22, 11.35.

The glossary of CEQA terms set forth in §1.36 has been revised and updated to reflect the most current usage in CEQA practice.

Attorneys Role in CEQA Process (chap 2)

In Consolidated Irrig. Dist. v Superior Court (2012) 205 CA4th 697, 710, the court ruled that documents held by a consultant can be treated as being in the agency’s possession for purposes of the Public Records Act if the agency is deemed to have constructive possession of them. See §2.42.

Role of Public Agencies in CEQA Process (chap 3)

In Friends of Outlet Creek v Mendocino County Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. (2017) 11 CA5th 1235, 1243, the court held that a lawsuit brought against a responsible agency is limited to the actions that the responsible agency takes in approving the project, and does not extend to actions by the lead agency, or to the adequacy of the lead agency’s CEQA review of the project. See §3.23.

The decision in Friends of the Eel River v North Coast R.R. Auth. (2017) 3 C5th 677, 712, confirmed the general rule that a lead agency’s functions under CEQA are sufficiently important that they may not be delegated to another agency. See §3.50. NOTE: On December 22, 2017, the North Coast Railroad Authority filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Friends of the Eel River (SCOTUS No. 17–915).

Is the Activity a Project? (chap 4)

In Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v County of Riverside (2017) 9 CA5th 941, 960, the board of supervisors’ tentative approval of an EIR and a specific plan, subject to preparation of the documents necessary for final action, did not constitute approval of the project for CEQA purposes. See §§4.15, 11.38.

Similarly, in Bridges v Mt. San Jacinto Community College Dist. (2017) 14 CA5th 104, 121, a land acquisition agreement that conditioned the opening of escrow on CEQA compliance and that did not commit the college district to any type of construction plan did not amount to approval of a project under CEQA. See §4.15.

In Aptos Council v County of Santa Cruz (2017) 10 CA5th 266, 281, the court held that activities that will operate independently of each other and can be implemented separately may be treated as separate projects under CEQA if one activity is not a foreseeable consequence of the other. See §4.19.

The court in Sierra Club v County of Sonoma (2017) 11 CA5th 11, 22, ruled that the ability to exercise some discretion in acting on a project is irrelevant unless that discretion would allow the agency to require the activity’s environmental impacts to be mitigated. The court also held that a determination whether issuance of a permit is ministerial or discretionary ordinarily must be based on the specific regulations that are relevant to the agency’s determination whether to approve the proposed project. See §§4.26–4.27, 4.30, 5.8–5.9.

Is the Project Exempt? (chap 5)

Effective January 1, 2018, under a new statutory exemption (Pub Res C §21080.30), CEQA does not apply to any action, approval, or authorization by the State Public Works Board or the Department of Finance regarding any bond issuance, capital outlay project, or real estate transaction. See §§5.7, 5.41.

Initial Study (chap 6)

In Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv. & Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160, 172 n12, the court noted that the environmental checklist form in CEQA Guidelines Appendix G can be tailored to cover environmental issues specific to a particular project. See §6.14.

In Aptos Council v County of Santa Cruz (2017) 10 CA5th 266, 293, a negative declaration evaluating changes in county ordinances governing hotel development was not required to evaluate potential development of larger hotels, because such development was speculative and not reasonably foreseeable. The court also ruled that the county’s approval of several revisions to its zoning ordinances was not a single project because the ordinances serve different purposes, operate independently of one another, and can be implemented separately. See §§6.31, 6.33, 6.39, 6.75–6.76, 6.80, 10.20.

Determining Scope and Contents of EIR (chap 8)

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, 936, the court held that the directive under Pub Res C §21003(a) and the CEQA Guidelines—to integrate CEQA review with the project planning, consultation, and approval processes used by each public agency—is a “fundamental policy” of CEQA. See §§8.5, 8.8.

CEQA Streamling and Special EIR Processes (chap 10)

In Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv. & Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160, the court held that program EIRs may examine the program as a whole at a programmatic level of detail, while also examining some activities within the program at a project-specific level of detail. The court also ruled that the substantial evidence standard of review applies to an agency determination that certain impacts of a proposed activity are adequately covered by a program EIR and need not be reevaluated in a later EIR prepared to address the activity’s other impacts. See §§10.14, 10.16, 10.18, 10.21, 10.40, 10.59.

Substantive Requirements for EIRs (chap 11)

The supreme court in Cleveland Nat’l Forest Found. v San Diego Ass’n of Gov’ts (2017) 3 C5th 497, 515, stated that the description of adverse environmental impacts in an EIR is “necessary to inform the critical discussions of mitigation measures and project alternatives” that are at the core of an EIR. See §11.34.

In Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv. & Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160, the court applied the substantial evidence test when the following issues relating to the adequacy of an EIR were involved: (1) the methodology or criteria for assessing an environmental impact (6 CA5th at 205); (2) the sufficiency of the scope of technical studies supporting an EIR, such as a health-risk assessment for toxic air contaminants (6 CA5th at 205); (3) the effectiveness of mitigation measures (6 CA5th at 199); (4) whether a project is consistent with a local greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy and thus will not have a significant environmental impact due to GHG emissions (6 CA5th at 203); and (5) whether a project consistent with a prior program EIR presents a new significant impact not previously studied (6 CA5th at 174). See §11.39.

In Cleveland Nat’l Forest Found. v San Diego Ass'n of Gov’ts (2017) 3 C5th 497, 516, the supreme court held that responses to EIR comments can directly bolster an EIR’s analysis of impacts. The court described responses to comments as “an integral part of the EIR” and held there was no legal infirmity in the fact that part of an EIR’s analysis of impacts was contained in the responses to comments. See §11.43.

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, 940, the supreme court noted that adequate responses to comments on the draft EIR are of particular importance when significant environmental issues are raised in comments submitted by experts or by regulatory agencies with specialized expertise. See §11.43.

Project Description, Setting, and Baseline (chap 12)

In Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv. & Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160, 185, the court held that mischaracterization of a mitigation measure as a project component amounts to a material error only if it obstructs or obscures analysis of the project’s environmental impacts and potential mitigation measures. See §12.7.

In East Sacramento Partnership for a Livable City v City of Sacramento (2016) 5 CA5th 281, 293, the court held that a lead agency may not split a single large project into smaller ones resulting in piecemeal environmental review that fails to consider the environmental consequences of the entire project. Under the facts of that case, a proposed tunnel that would provide additional access to the project was not a necessary part of the project; the project was not conditioned on the tunnel’s construction; and the tunnel was deemed infeasible at the time the project was approved. The East Sacramento court also ruled that references to the development agreement in final EIR and in public meeting notices were sufficient to alert interested persons to its relevance; analysis of the development agreement in the EIR was not required. See §§12.8, 12.10–12.11, 12.15, 12.33.

The court in Poet, LLC v State Air Resources Bd. (2017) 12 CA5th 52 ruled that the test for determining which activities to include in, or exclude from, the project description includes whether they are closely related to the overall objective of the project or are part of a coordinated endeavor. See §§12.10, 12.20, 21.13, 23.37.

Significant Environmental Effects (chap 13)

In Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv. and Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160, 197, the court rejected claims that an EIR was required to evaluate the extent to which patrons of a proposed project would be exposed to existing windy conditions. The court also held that selection of a threshold of significance “requires an exercise of reasoned judgment” founded on substantial evidence (6 CA5th at 206). See §§13.5, 13.8, 13.11, 13.13, 13.15, 13.60, 13.66, 13.66D.

The supreme court in Cleveland Nat’l Forest Found. v San Diego Ass’n of Gov’ts (2017) 3 C5th 497, 515, confirmed that a lead agency’s choice of appropriate thresholds of significance must be “based to the extent possible on scientific and factual data,” citing 14 Cal Code Regs §15064(b). See §§13.8, 13.26, 13.28, 13.66.

In East Sacramento Partnership for a Livable City v City of Sacramento (2016) 5 CA5th 281, the court rejected claims that an EIR was required to evaluate existing health hazards in the area of an infill development site. The court upheld the scope of a traffic impact analysis that focused on impacts to intersections rather than roadway segments, but rejected the use of a general plan level of service standard to determine the significance of impacts at intersections, in part because the lead agency was inconsistently applying those standards in determining significance. The court also ruled that when there is evidence an impact might be significant, an EIR may not adopt a contrary finding without providing an adequate explanation along with supporting evidence. See §§13.5, 13.8, 13.11, 13.66D.

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, 941, the supreme court held that, for a project located in the coastal zone, an EIR must evaluate as part of its analysis any areas that might qualify as environmentally sensitive habitat areas under the Coastal Act. See §13.61.

Mitigation Measures (chap 14)

In Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv.& Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160, 187, 190, the court held that CEQA does not require that a guaranteed source of funding for mitigation measures be identified; an agency’s determination—that funding sufficient to implement a mitigation plan will be available—will be upheld if supported by substantial evidence. See §§14.9, 14.12–14.13.

In Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v County of Riverside (2017) 9 CA5th 941, the court upheld the agency’s use of a performance standard, rather than prescriptive mitigation measures, to allow implementation of mitigation to be tailored to fit the final project design and then-available technology. See §§14.10, 14.12.

Project Alternatives (chap 15)

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, the court found legally inadequate an EIR that failed to identify areas on project site that might qualify as environmentally sensitive habitat areas under the Coastal Act, and to take those areas into consideration in its analysis of alternatives and mitigation measures. See §15.8.

Final EIRs (chap 16)

In Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v County of Riverside (2017) 9 CA5th 941, 964, the court ruled that changes to the allocation and arrangement of uses within the specific plan, without changing the nature of the uses or footprint of the plan, did not result in new or substantially more severe impacts. See §§16.12, 16.15B, 16.15F, 23.22.

Project Approvals and Findings (chap 17)

In Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v County of Riverside (2017) 9 CA5th 941, 963, the court rejected claims that errors in the notice of determination’s project description warranted unwinding the agency’s approval of the project. See §17.46.

Subsequent and Supplemental EIRs (chap 19)

In Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v San Mateo County Community College Dist. (2017) 11 CA5th 596, 611, the court held that an agency may adopt a subsequent mitigated negative declaration when a subsequent EIR would otherwise be required but the project’s new significant impacts can be significantly reduced or avoided by adopting appropriate mitigation measures. See §19.7.

On remand from the supreme court’s decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v San Mateo County Community College Dist. (2016) 1 C5th 937, the court of appeal ruled that an EIR must be prepared whenever the record contains substantial evidence sufficient to support a fair argument that a significant environmental impact not previously considered might occur. Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v San Mateo County Community College Dist. (2017) 11 CA5th 596, 607. The court of appeal also held that an agency may adopt a subsequent mitigated negative declaration to address new significant impacts that were not covered by prior mitigated negative declaration adopted for the project. For detailed analysis of the two Friends of the College decisions, see §§19.34, 19.40, 19.43, 19.55.

Relationship Between CEQA and Other Statutes and Programs (chap 20)

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, the supreme court held that an EIR on a proposed project in the coastal zone was required to identify areas that might be designated by the Coastal Commission as environmentally sensitive habitat areas under the Coastal Act. Further, the court ruled that a discussion of potential environmentally sensitive habitat areas on such a project site was essential to an adequate analysis of feasible project alternatives and mitigation measures (2 C5th at 937). See §20.18.

Adding to the growing body of CEQA case law on the evaluation of climate change impacts are Cleveland Nat’l Forest Found. v San Diego Ass’n of Gov’ts (2017) 3 C5th 497 (EIR for regional transportation plan not required to use state climate goals from Governor’s Executive Orders as CEQA thresholds of significance) and Mission Bay Alliance v Office of Community Inv. & Infrastructure (2016) 6 CA5th 160 (EIR analysis based on consistency with adopted greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan was sufficient; quantified analysis of emissions not required in addition to such consistency evaluation). For detailed discussion of these cases, see §§20.81–20.81D, 20.83–20.83A, 20.86–20.86A, 20.88A.

In November 2017, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District adopted Regulation 11–18, Reduction of Risk from Air Toxic Emissions at Existing Facilities, “considered to be the most health-protective toxic air pollution risk control measure in the nation.” See §20.81A.

CARB is now proceeding to consider a second Scoping Plan update, which will reflect the 2030 mid-term emissions reduction target set by SB 32 (Stats 2016, ch 249). (The Scoping Plan sets forth various regulatory and market-based measures to reduce GHG emissions, including a cap-and-trade market-based system for reducing emissions from existing utility and large industrial sources.) The cap-and-trade rules were upheld in California Chamber of Commerce v State Air Resources Bd. (2017) 10 CA5th 604. See §20.81C.

A new section has been added to chapter 20 on how a lead agency should determine the appropriate time horizon for analysis of the impacts of a project’s greenhouse gas emissions. See §20.83A.

CEQA Litigation (chap 23)

In Friends of Outlet Creek v Mendocino County Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. (2017) 11 CA5th 1235, 1243, the court held that relief in a case brought against a responsible agency is limited to that agency’s acts and cannot extend to decisions or actions by the lead agency. See §23.15.

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v City of Newport Beach (2017) 2 C5th 918, 935, the supreme court held that the question whether an EIR has omitted essential information required by CEQA to be included is a legal issue subject to de novo review. In Banning Ranch, the omission of information from an EIR relating to the potential effect of Coastal Commission environmental review procedures and requirements was prejudicial because it skewed the evaluation of alternatives and mitigation measures and precluded a full understanding of the environmental issues posed by the project. See §§23.35, 23.37.

In Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v County of Riverside (2017) 9 CA5th 941, 964, the court ruled that errors in the notice of determination were not prejudicial because the suit was filed before the statute of limitations had run. See §23.37.

In Friends of Outlet Creek v Mendocino County Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. (2017) 11 CA5th 1235, 1244, the court ruled that if an agency is required by law to hold an evidentiary hearing and to make its factual determinations based on the administrative record, its findings and decision are reviewed under CCP §1094.5. See §23.42.

In The Urban Wildlands Group, Inc. v City of Los Angeles (2017) 10 CA5th 993, 996, the court held that a judgment denying a mandamus petition on the basis of the petitioner’s failure to lodge the record with the court is not a default judgment or dismissal subject to mandatory relief under CCP §473(b). See §23.75.

In East Sacramento Partnership for a Livable City v City of Sacramento (2016) 5 CA5th 281, 303, the court of appeal remanded the case for issuance of a writ of mandate, instructing that the city need only correct the EIR deficiency that the court had identified before recertifying the EIR. See §23.125.

In Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v San Mateo County Community College Dist. (2017) 11 CA5th 596, 611, the court rejected the district’s approval of project modifications on the basis of an addendum to a prior negative declaration for the project, but ruled that the district could elect to adopt a subsequent mitigated negative declaration, rather than preparing an EIR, if it determined that the impacts of the modifications could be reduced to insignificance by implementing appropriate mitigation measures. See §23.125.

In Poet, LLC v State Air Resources Bd. (2017) 12 CA5th 52, 85, the court ruled that if an appellate court determines a lower court order discharging a writ of mandate was granted in error the appellate court has authority to reverse the order, direct compliance with the writ, and issue further appropriate orders to compel compliance. See §23.125A.

In Save Our Heritage Organisation v City of San Diego (2017) 11 CA5th 154, the court held that, although a project proponent may obtain an attorney fee award under the private attorney general statute (CCP §1021.5) if it satisfies the statutory requirements, an award against the petitioner in this case would be improper because the litigation did not seek to curtail or compromise public rights but, rather, to enforce them. See §23.135.

About the Authors

STEPHEN L. KOSTKA was a partner with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, LLP, in San Francisco when he co-authored the first and second editions of this book. He is currently of counsel with the law firm of Perkins Coie, LLP, in San Francisco, in the firm’s Environment, Energy & Resources practice group. Mr. Kostka specializes in land use and environmental litigation and counseling, representing public agencies and private developers. He regularly teaches courses in CEQA compliance and CEQA litigation for professional, public agency, and industry groups. Mr. Kostka has served for a number of years as a legal advisor to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research on revisions to the CEQA Guidelines. Mr. Kostka received his B.A. degree in 1970 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his J.D. degree in 1973 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

MICHAEL H. ZISCHKE is a partner with the law firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP, in San Francisco, where he is co-chair of the Land Use and Natural Resources Practice Team. Before joining Cox, Castle & Nicholson, Mr. Zischke co-chaired the land use and environmental law practice group at Morrison & Foerster, LLP, and previously chaired the CEQA and land use group at Landels, Ripley & Diamond. Mr. Zischke specializes in CEQA and land use litigation and compliance, representing businesses and public agencies. He regularly teaches CEQA and land use courses for various law schools and professional and industry groups. He has actively participated in task forces on CEQA legislation and revisions of the CEQA Guidelines. Mr. Zischke received his B.A. degree in 1977 from Dartmouth College and his J.D. degree in 1982 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

About the 2018 Update Authors

STEPHEN L. KOSTKA. See biography in the About the Authors section. Mr. Kostka gratefully acknowledges the following Perkins Coie partners who offered suggestions for the 2018 update: Barbara J. Schussman, Julie Jones, and Geoffrey L. Robinson.

MICHAEL H. ZISCHKE. See biography in the About the Authors section. Mr. Zischke gratefully acknowledges the following attorneys who offered comments and suggestions for the 2018 update: Robert P. Doty, Andrew K. Fogg, Linda C. Klein, James M. Purvis, and Andrew B. Sabey (Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP); Nick Cammarota (General Counsel, California Building Industry Association); Ricia R. Hager (Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart); Jennifer Hernandez (Holland & Knight LLP); Christian L. Marsh (Downey Brand LLP); and Margaret M. Sohagi (The Sohagi Law Group, PLC). Mr. Zischke also thanks his assistant, Rosa Keel, and the Cox, Castle & Nicholson librarian, Janet Kasabian, for their help.

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