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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 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 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
OnLAW RE94780

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Print RE33780

2d edition, 2 looseleaf volumes, updated March 2022

$ 599.00

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 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.  2018 Legislation  1.26G
        • i.  2019 Legislation  1.26H
        • j.  2020 Legislation  1.26I
        • k.  2021 Legislation  1.26J
        • l.  Recent Studies Evaluating CEQA  1.26K
  • 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 Foreseeable Change to Environment  4.21
      • 5.  Actions That Will Not Result in Foreseeable Change in Environment  4.22
      • 6.  Specific Exclusions Under CEQA Guidelines  4.23
      • 7.  Environment’s Effects on Project Are Not Subject to CEQA   4.23A
    • E.  Third Test for Project: Determining Whether Activity is Discretionary or Ministerial  4.24
      • 1.  What Is a Discretionary Activity?  4.25
      • 2.  What Is a Ministerial Activity?  4.26
      • 3.  Determining Whether an Action is Discretionary or Ministerial  4.26A
      • 4.  Projects With Both Discretionary and Ministerial Components  4.27
      • 5.  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.  Ministerial Housing Approvals  5.10A
        • d.  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.  Projects in Housing Sustainability Districts  5.34A
      • 18.  Development Approvals Based on Previous Planning or Zoning EIR  5.35
      • 19.  State-Certified Regulatory Programs  5.36
      • 20.  Local Implementation of State Regulations Under Certified Regulatory Programs  5.37
      • 21.  Mobilehome Park Conversions  5.38
      • 22.  Water Management Plans  5.39
      • 23.  Native American Sites  5.40
      • 24.  Certain Bonds and Financing Mechanisms  5.41
      • 25.  Industrial Development Authorities  5.42
      • 26.  Delta Protection  5.43
      • 27.  Temporary Transfer or Exchange of Water or Water Rights  5.44
      • 28.  Adoption of Nondisposal Facility Elements of Local Solid Waste Plans  5.45
      • 29.  Caltrans Land Acquisitions Within Certain Transportation Corridors  5.46
      • 30.  Projects on Native American Lands  5.47
      • 31.  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 Exemptions  5.52
        • e.  Exemption for Infill In Urbanized County Areas  5.52A
        • f.  Other CEQA Exemptions and Streamlining Provisions to Consider  5.53
        • g.  Special Posting Requirements for Housing Exemptions  5.54
      • 32.  “Transit Priority Projects” Under SB 375  5.54A
      • 33.  “Use by Right” Development of Affordable Housing  5.55
      • 34.  Title V Air Quality Permits  5.56
      • 35.  Aquaculture Facility Registration  5.57
      • 36.  Minor Utility Alterations for Fluoridation  5.58
      • 37.  Publicly Owned Transit Agency Budget Reductions  5.59
      • 38.  School Fees and School Facilities Needs Analyses  5.60
      • 39.  Infrastructure Financing Actions  5.61
      • 40.  NCCP Planning Agreements  5.62
      • 41.  Mandatory Recycled Water Use  5.63
      • 42.  Dispositions of Surplus State Real Property and Armories  5.63A
      • 43.  Rooftop and Parking Lot Solar Projects  5.63B
      • 44.  Interim Drought Relief Measures  5.63C
      • 45.  Certain Actions Under the Surface Mining Law  5.63D
      • 46.  Williamson Act Rescission Eligibility Determinations   5.63E
      • 47.  Cannabis Regulations   5.63F
      • 48.  Quagga Mussel Restrictions   5.63G
      • 49.  Ocean Fishery Management Plans Regulations   5.63H
      • 50.  Public Water System Non-Exemption Decisions  5.63I
      • 51.  Low Barrier Navigation Centers for Homeless  5.63J
      • 52.  Species Recovery and Habitat Restoration Projects  5.63K
      • 53.  Behavioral Health Grant Funded Projects  5.63L
    • 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.  Standards in Guidelines Appendix G Checklist and the Guidelines  6.54
      • 4.  Standards Adopted by Other Public Agencies  6.55
      • 5.  Lead Agency Significance Standards  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.  Draft EIR Must Reflect Lead Agency’s Independent Judgment  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.  Public Agency Review and Comments on Draft EIR  9.16
  • IV.  PUBLIC REVIEW OF DRAFT EIR
    • A.  Notice of Availability for 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.  Projects Reviewed by State Agencies
        • 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.  Determining 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 Standards of Significance  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.  Noise  13.63A
    • H.  Urban Decay  13.64
    • I.  Hazardous Waste and Release Sites  13.65
    • J.  Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change  13.66
    • K.  Seismic Safety  13.67
    • L.  Visual and Aesthetic Resources  13.68
    • M.  Tribal Cultural Resources  13.69
    • N.  Transportation and Traffic  13.70
    • O.  Parking Shortages  13.71
    • P.  Conversion of Agricultural Land  13.72

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 Mitigation 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 SUBSEQUENT 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 Agencies  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.  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
      • 4.  Housing Sustainability Districts  20.115A
    • B.  Department of Real Estate (DRE)
      • 1.  DRE’s Limited Role in CEQA Approvals  20.116
      • 2.  DRE 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.  Special Timing Provisions for 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 2022 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, and several that were included in last year’s update, are the following:

2021 Legislation

In 2021, the legislature enacted some important bills to encourage housing development, including provisions to make approval of smaller housing projects ministerial and thus exempt from CEQA. The legislature also enacted a number of generally minor amendments to CEQA itself, including extending the program for environmental leadership projects. The following bills, summarized below and in §1.26.K, were enacted in 2021:

  • Senate Bill 7 (Stats 2021, ch 19) extended and to some extent expanded the provisions for streamlined approval of environmental leadership projects. See §§10.59–10.61.

  • Senate Bill 9 (Stats 2021, ch 162) added provisions that approval of small housing projects, up to two units, in existing single family zones, and approval of lot splits in urban areas, are ministerial actions, and thus not subject to CEQA. See §5.10A.

  • Senate Bill 10 (Stats 2021, ch 163) added a provision that certain rezonings for housing in transit-rich areas or infill areas, are ministerial actions and thus not subject to CEQA. See §5.10A.

  • Assembly Bill 133 (Stat 2021, ch 143) added a new statutory exemption for projects funded pursuant to the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure grants, provided the project meets a number of additional conditions. See §5.63L.

  • Senate Bill 155 (Stats 2021, ch 258) is an omnibus “trailer bill” which made numerous amendments to the Public Resources Code, including enactment of a new statutory exemption for species protection and habitat conservation projects that meet certain conditions. Pub Resources C §21080.56. See §5.63K.

  • Senate Bill 156 (Stat 2021, ch 112) added a new statutory exemption for linear open-access middle-mile broadband projects that meet certain conditions. See §5.22.

  • Senate Bill 552 (Stats 2021, ch 245) enacted new requirements for drought planning by small water suppliers. See §§20.75, 20.79.

  • Assembly Bill 819 (Stats 2021, ch 97) adds and updates a variety of CEQA notice and posting provisions, generally to require electronic submission of documents and notices, and posting CEQA documents and notices on agency websites. See generally §§5.118, 7.15, 7.31, 9.12, 9.14.

    As noted throughout this update, under Executive Order No. 54-20, regarding the coronavirus, the requirement to post notices of determination at the county clerk’s office was suspended between April 23 and June 21, 2020, and was replaced by requirements for website and electronic posting by the lead agency, unless the applicable clerk’s office was open during such time. Under Executive Order No. 80-20, effective on September 23, 2020, these substitute noticing provisions were extended, but under Executive Order No. N-8-21, these provisions expired on September 30, 2021.

    Late 2020 Through Late 2021 Case Developments

    Attorney’s Role in CEQA Process (chap 2)

    In US Fish & Wildlife Serv. v Sierra Club, Inc. (2021) ___ US ___, 141 S Ct 777, the court held that draft biological opinions are predecisional documents subject to the deliberative process privilege, even though they express the final position of the Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposal that is the subject of the draft opinion. See §2.42(B).

    In Sierra Watch v Placer County (2021) 69 CA5th 1, the court found that the county violated the disclosure requirement of section 54957.5 of the Brown Act because it failed to make a memorandum that related to an agenda item for an open session of a regular meeting of the county board of supervisors available for public inspection at the time it distributed the memo to the board, when it placed the memo in the county clerk’s office after hours. See §2.46.

    Role of Public Agencies in CEQA Process (chap 3)

    In Santa Clara Valley Water Dist. v San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Bd. (2020) 59 CA5th 199, the court affirmed the denial of a petition for writ of mandate challenging waste discharge requirements imposed by a responsible agency through an order issued under its own governing statutes, after it had already approved a water quality certification for the project during the CEQA review process, noting the unique circumstances of the case. See §3.22.

    In California Coastkeeper Alliance v State Lands Comm’n (2021) 64 CA5th 36, the court held that a responsible agency is not required to assume the role of lead agency when it prepares a supplemental EIR rather than a subsequent EIR under CEQA Guidelines 15162–15163. See §§3.8, 11.33, 12.10, 19.2, 19.5, 19.54.

    In McCann v City of San Diego (2021) 70 CA5th 51, the court concluded that a determination that a project is exempt from CEQA does not constitute an environmental document, and may be delegated to agency staff. Petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies by appealing the staff determination to the city council. See §§3.50, 6.16A, 6.18, 6.31, 6.78, 6.79, 20.81, 20.81, 20.81A, 23.103.

    Is the Activity a Project? (chap 4)

    In San Francisco Taxi Coalition v City & County of San Francisco (9th Cir 2020) 979 F3d 1220, the court considered the city’s adoption of taxi regulations favoring new medallion holders and held that assertions of environmental impact that are entirely speculative are not sufficient to characterize an action as a project subject to CEQA. See §§4.20, 4.22.

    Is the Project Exempt? (chap 5)

    In Protect Tustin Ranch v City of Tustin (2021) 70 CA5th 951, the court held the construction of a new gas station and ancillary facilities by a warehouse store in an existing shopping center, surrounded by commercial and residential uses, was exempt from CEQA under the categorical exemption for infill development. See §§5.72, 5.126, 5.127.

    In Los Angeles Dep’t of Water & Power v County of Inyo (2021) 67 CA5th 1018, the court held that the county’s unlined landfills did not fall within the scope of the exemption for existing facilities based on a narrow construction of the exemption, and that due to possible environmental risks, unlined landfills do not constitute a suitable class for a categorical exemption. See §§5.77, 5.126, 23.105.

    Initial Study (chap 6)

    In Newtown Preservation Soc’y v County of El Dorado (2021) 65 CA5th 771, the court held that concerns about existing wildfire risks did not support a fair argument that the project might adversely affect the environment or exacerbate existing environmental hazards. See §§6.35, 6.39, 6.41, 6.42, 6.76, 6.80.

    CEQA Streamlining and Special EIR Processes (chap 10)

    In Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass’n v Newsom (2021) 67 CA5th 711, the court considered special legislation enacted to facilitate the construction of a new baseball park and mixed-use development project at the Howard Terminal site in the City of Oakland, and concluded that Pub Res C §21168.6.7 did not impose on the Governor a deadline to certify the project. See §10.59.

    Substantive Requirements for EIRs (chap 11)

    In Sierra Watch v County of Placer (2021) 69 CA5th 86, the court held the EIR lacked adequate discussion of the environmental setting, arbitrarily ignoring noise impacts farther than 50 feet from expected construction activity and lacked detailed mitigation measures for construction noise. See §§11.28, 11.30, 11.34, 11.35, 11.40, 12.17, 13.8, 13.42, 13.63, 14.11, 14.12, 16.15C, 16.16, 17.15, 23.101, 23.124.

    In Central Delta Water Agency v Department of Water Resources (2021) 69 CA5th 170, the CEQA litigation over the Monterey Agreement was brought to a conclusion after 27 years with the court’s rulings in favor of the Department of Water Resources in three consolidated appeals, upholding the adequacy of EIRs, the changes to the provisions of its water supply contracts and a transfer of land for a water bank to implement the Agreement. See §§11.37, 11.38, 11.39, 15.20, 15.22, 20.80, 23.115, 23.124, 23.125A, 23.130.

    Project Description, Setting, and Baseline (chap 12)

    In Stop Syar Expansion v County of Napa (2021) 63 CA5th 444, the court rejected petitioner’s claim that the EIR failed to disclose inconsistencies of a quarry expansion project with the general plan, holding that it was the prerogative of the county as lead agency to conclude that the project was consistent with general plan, and that no analysis is required if the project is consistent with the relevant plans. See §§12.28, 23.3, 23.97, 23.98, 23.103.

    Mitigation Measures (chap 14)

    In King & Gardiner Farms, LLC v County of Kern (2020) 45 CA5th 814, the court concluded that the EIR for a permitting ordinance for oil and gas wells improperly deferred formulation and implementation of feasible mitigation measures for significant water supply impacts, failed to sufficiently respond to comments on mitigation, and failed to adequately analyze noise impacts because the use of a single metric for determining significance did not address the magnitude of increases. See §14.3.

    In Alliance for Responsible Planning v Taylor (2021) 63 CA5th 1072, the court held that an initiative measure requiring new development to pay fees to mitigate cumulative traffic was unconstitutional under the Nollan/Dolan rough-proportionality test because it required construction of improvements exceeding the extent of the development’s own impact. See §§14.33, 23.110.

    Project Alternatives (chap 15)

    In Save Our Access etc. v Watershed Conservation Authority (2021) 68 CA5th 8, the court upheld the EIR’s analysis of alternatives for a project to improve a recreation area within the Angeles National Forest even though no alternatives other than the “no project” alternative was considered in the EIR. See §§6.36, 11.38, 13.22, 13.23, 13.71, 15.7, 15.11, 15.12, 15.16.

    Project Approval and Findings (chap 17)

    In Organizacion de Comunidad de Alviso v City of San Jose (2021) 60 CA5th 783, the court held the agency’s failure to send to a requesting party a second notice of determination that correctly named the project applicant constituted a CEQA violation but did not affect the requirement that the requesting party name the project applicant as a necessary party in its petition prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. See §§17.47, 23.16, 23.21, 23.22, 23.28.

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

    In Kracke v City of Santa Barbara (2021) 63 CA5th 1089, the court held that a city’s ban on short-term vacation rentals was a development requiring a coastal development permit. See §20.18.

    In Ruegg & Ellsworth v City of Berkeley (2021) 63 CA5th 277, the court held that the city improperly denied an application for ministerial approval of a mixed-use development as an affordable housing project under SB 35, which added GC 65913.4. See §20.115.

    In California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund v City of San Mateo (2021) 68 CA5th 820, the court held that the design guideline the city invoked in rejecting a housing development was not objective for purposes of the Housing Accountability Act. See §20.115.

    Joint Federal-State Environmental Documents (chap 22)

    In Center for Community Action v FAA (9th Cir, Nov. 18, 2021, No. 20-70464), the court upheld the FAA’s Record of Decision finding no significant environmental impact stemming from the construction and operation of an Amazon air cargo facility at the San Bernardino International airport, concluding that the petitioners failed to establish that the FAA acted arbitrarily or capriciously. See §22.2.

    In Bair v California Dep’t of Transp. (9th Cir 2020) 982 F3d 569, the court reversed the trial court’s judgment ordering the department to prepare an EIS, concluding that NEPA was satisfied under an arbitrary and capricious standard of review. See §22.2.

    CEQA Litigation (chap 23)

    In Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods v Regents of Univ. of Cal. (2021) 70 CA5th 705, the court held the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the real party developers of a campus project, closely aligned with the lead agency and undertaking the project for the benefit of the lead agency, were not indispensable parties to a CEQA action challenging the project EIR under the balancing factors of CCP 389. See §§23.16, 23.22.

    In Save Lafayette Trees v East Bay Regional Park Dist. (2021) 66 CA5th 21, the court held that a CEQA claim was time-barred, concluding the public was given constructive notice that starts the 180-day limitations period despite the absence of any form of actual notice or flaws in the approval process. See §§23.25, 23.28.

    In Schmid v City & County of San Francisco (2021) 60 CA5th 470, the court held petitioner’s lawsuit was time-barred because a tolling agreement between the petitioner and the agency, which the real party in interest did not consent to, could not be enforced against it, and the real party had not been joined in the lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired and was found to be indispensable to resolution of the case. See §§23.97, 23.103.

    In Farmland Protection Alliance v County of Yolo (Nov. 3, 2021, Case No. C087688), the court reversed a trial court order for the preparation of a limited EIR after it set aside a mitigated negative declaration, concluding that CEQA requires preparation of a “full EIR” when any aspect of a project may have a significant effect on the environment, and does not authorize a project’s environmental review to be split across two types of documents, a negative declaration and an EIR. See §23.155.

    In Dunning v Johnson (2021) 64 CA5th 156, the court upheld the trial court order denying a motion to strike a malicious prosecution complaint against unsuccessful plaintiff in CEQA case, but found the motion to strike complaint against plaintiff’s attorneys should have been granted as the record was insufficient as a matter of law to establish malice. See §§23.155, 23.159.

    In Sierra Club v County of Fresno (2020) 57 CA5th 979, the court held that when a court finds an EIR is legally inadequate, it must order that the agency set aside its certification of the EIR in its entirety, and may not issue an order that the certification be decertified in part. See §§23.124, 23.125A.

    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 2022 Update Authors

    STEPHEN L. KOSTKA. See biography in the About the Authors section. Mr. Kostka gratefully acknowledges the following attorneys for their contributions to the 2022 update: Jessica Tucker-Mohl, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Office of the California Attorney General; Whitman Manley, Of Counsel with the firm of Remy Moose Manley, LLP; Marie Cooper, Senior Counsel with the firm of Perkins Coie; and Julie Jones, partner with the firm of Perkins Coie.

    MICHAEL H. ZISCHKE. See biography in the About the Authors section. Mr. Kischke gratefully ackowledges the following attorneys for providing assistance and comments for the 2022 update: Tina Thomas, founder, Thomas Law Group; James Moose, Senior Partner, Remy Moose Manley, LLP; and Partners Andrew Sabey, Linda Klein, Clark Morrison, and Scott Birkey of Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP. Mr. Zischke also thanks Justine Morgan, Manager of Information Services with Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP for her research assistance.

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