The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) establishes a process to incorporate scientific data and public input into the project development approval process.  State and local agencies are required to review the potential environmental impacts of proposed public and private projects, and to mitigate those impacts to the extent feasible, prior to taking any action on the project.

The laws and rules governing CEQA (state law, CEQA Guidelines, published court decisions) set forth the procedures and timeframes for environmental review of proposed public and private projects.  The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), together with the Natural Resources Agency, develops the CEQA Guidelines, which are administrative regulations interpreting the CEQA statute and published court decisions.

CEQA is controversial, and it is not uncommon for the process to result in costly litigation and project delays.  RCRC engages in legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts to streamline the CEQA process, oppose new provisions that complicate the administrative process, and increase the risk of actionable procedural violations, and add to costs of the CEQA process.

As mandated by Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg, 2013), OPR is in the process of amending the CEQA Guidelines to provide alternatives to “level of service” measurement for evaluating transportation impacts of projects within transit priority areas.

Staff: Mary-Ann Warmerdam and Mary Pitto