Chapter 3. Guidelines for Implementation of the
Article 9. Contents of Environmental Impact Reports
Sections 15120 to 15132
(a) Environmental Impact Reports shall contain the information outlined in this article, but the format of the document may be varied. Each element must be covered, and when these elements are not separated into distinct sections, the document shall state where in the document each element is discussed.
(c) Draft EIRs shall contain the information required by Sections 15122 through 15131. Final EIRs shall contain the same information and the subjects described in Section 15132.
(d) No document prepared pursuant to this article that is available for public examination shall include a "trade secret" as defined in Section 6254.7 of the Government Code, information about the location of archaeological sites and sacred lands, or any other information that is subject to the disclosure restrictions of Section 6254 of the Government Code.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21100, 21105 and 21160, Public Resources Code.
section provides general information on the
Subsection (b) is also
designed to allow Lead Agencies flexibility in preparing the document. This
section provides that the
The flexibility allowed by
this section enables Lead Agencies to achieve efficiencies in different
situations. For example, where a Local Agency Formation Commission has prepared
a large document analyzing the effects of a proposed annexation, the LAFCO may
reduce its cost by including the
Subsection (c) highlights the
differences in contents for draft EIRs and final EIRs. The Guidelines refer so often to draft or final EIRs that the contents should be identified in the
introductory section in the article on
Subsection (d) clarifies that limitations on the disclosure of ìtrade secretsî and archaeological sites established by state law outside of CEQA also apply to environmental documents. Limiting disclosure of archaeological sites and sacred lands is particularly important in order to reduce the chances that they might be damaged or destroyed by collectors.
15121. Informational Document
(b) While the information in
(c) The information in an
cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21061, Public
Resources Code; Carmel Valley View, Ltd.
v. Board of Supervisors, (1976) 58
section describes the fundamental role played by the
15122. Table of Contents or Index
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21061, Public Resources Code.
section identifies the statutory requirement for an
(b) The summary shall identify:
(1) Each significant effect with proposed mitigation measures and alternatives that would reduce or avoid that effect;
(2) Areas of controversy known to the Lead Agency including issues raised by agencies and the public; and
(3) Issues to be resolved including the choice among alternatives and whether or how to mitigate the significant effects.
(c) The summary should normally not exceed 15 pages.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21061, Public Resources Code.
section identifies the statutory requirement for an
15124. Project Description
The description of the project shall contain the following information but should not supply extensive detail beyond that needed for evaluation and review of the environmental impact.
(a) The precise location and boundaries of the proposed project shall be shown on a detailed map, preferably topographic. The location of the project shall also appear on a regional map.
(b) A statement of objectives
sought by the proposed project. A clearly written statement of objectives will
help the lead agency develop a reasonable range of alternatives to evaluate in
(c) A general description of the project's technical, economic, and environmental characteristics, considering the principal engineering proposals if any and supporting public service facilities.
(d) A statement briefly
describing the intended uses of the
(1) This statement shall include, to the extent that the information is known to the Lead Agency,
(A) A list of the agencies
that are expected to use the
(B) A list of permits and other approvals required to implement the project.
(C) A list of related environmental review and consultation requirements required by federal, state, or local laws, regulations, or policies. To the fullest extent possible, the lead agency should integrate CEQA review with these related environmental review and consultation requirements.
(2) If a public agency must make more than one decision on a project, all its decisions subject to CEQA should be listed, preferably in the order in which they will occur. On request, the Office of Planning and Research will provide assistance in identifying state permits for a project.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21080.3, 21080.4, 21165, 21166, and 21167.2, Public Resources Code; County of Inyo v. City of Los Angeles (1977) 71 Cal.App.3d 185.
section requires the
Subsection (b) emphasizes the importance of a clearly written statement of objectives. Compatibility with project objectives is one of the criteria for selecting a reasonable range of project alternatives. Clear project objectives simplify the selection process by providing a standard against which to measure possible alternatives.
Subsection (d) calls for a
brief statement of how the Lead Agency and any Responsible Agencies will use
15125. Environmental Setting
(b) When preparing an
(c) Knowledge of the regional
setting is critical to the assessment of environmental impacts. Special
emphasis should be placed on environmental resources that are rare or unique to
that region and would be affected by the project. The
(e) Where a proposed project is compared with an adopted plan, the analysis shall examine the existing physical conditions at the time the notice of preparation is published, or if no notice of preparation is published, at the time environmental analysis is commenced as well as the potential future conditions discussed in the plan.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21061 and 21100, Public Resources Code; E.P.I.C. v. County of El Dorado (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 350; San Joaquin Raptor/Wildlife Rescue Center v. County of Stanislaus (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 713; Bloom v. McGurk (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 1307.
the concept of a significant effect on the environment focuses on changes in
the environment, this section requires an
Subsection (a) clarifies that the ìenvironmental settingî is intended to mean the environmental conditions as they exist at the time the Notice of Preparation is filed. This gives the lead agency greater certainty regarding the setting which must be described. The subsection goes on to provide that normally the environmental setting describes the baseline conditions against which the significance of any physical change in the environment that may occur as a result of the project will be measured.
Regarding subsection (c), in Antioch v. Pittsburg (1986) 187
Subsection (d) reflects the
decision in Environmental Information and
Planning Council v. County of El Dorado (1982) 131 Cal. App. 3d 350, which
held that in comparing an old general plan with a new county general plan that
would allow less growth than the old plan, the
15126. Consideration and Discussion of Environmental Impacts
All phases of a project must
be considered when evaluating its impact on the environment: planning,
acquisition, development, and operation. The subjects listed below shall be
discussed as directed in Sections 15126.2, 15126.4 and 15126.6, preferably in
separate sections or paragraphs of the
(a) Significant Environmental Effects of the Proposed Project.
(b) Significant Environmental Effects Which Cannot be Avoided if the Proposed Project is Implemented.
(c) Significant Irreversible Environmental Changes Which Would be Involved in the Proposed Project Should it be Implemented.
(d) Growth-Inducing Impact of the Proposed Project.
(e) The Mitigation Measures Proposed to Minimize the Significant Effects.
(f) Alternatives to the Proposed Project.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21002, 21003, 21100, and 21081.6, Public Resources Code; Citizens of Goleta Valley v. Board of Supervisors (1990) 52 Cal.3d 553; Laurel Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California (1988) 47 Cal.3d 376; Gentry v. City of Murrieta (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1359; and Laurel Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California (1993) 6 Cal.4th 1112.
section specifies that an
15126.2 Consideration and Discussion of Significant Environmental Impacts.
(a) The Significant
Environmental Effects of the Proposed Project. An
(b) Significant Environmental Effects Which Cannot be Avoided if the Proposed Project is Implemented. Describe any significant impacts, including those which can be mitigated but not reduced to a level of insignificance. Where there are impacts that cannot be alleviated without imposing an alternative design, their implications and the reasons why the project is being proposed, notwithstanding their effect, should be described.
(c) Significant Irreversible Environmental Changes Which Would be Caused by the Proposed Project Should it be Implemented. Uses of nonrenewable resources during the initial and continued phases of the project may be irreversible since a large commitment of such resources makes removal or nonuse thereafter unlikely. Primary impacts and, particularly, secondary impacts (such as highway improvement which provides access to a previously inaccessible area) generally commit future generations to similar uses. Also irreversible damage can result from environmental accidents associated with the project. Irretrievable commitments of resources should be evaluated to assure that such current consumption is justified.
(d) Growth-Inducing Impact of the Proposed Project. Discuss the ways in which the proposed project could foster economic or population growth, or the construction of additional housing, either directly or indirectly, in the surrounding environment. Included in this are projects which would remove obstacles to population growth (a major expansion of a waste water treatment plant might, for example, allow for more construction in service areas). Increases in the population may tax existing community service facilities, requiring construction of new facilities that could cause significant environmental effects. Also discuss the characteristic of some projects which may encourage and facilitate other activities that could significantly affect the environment, either individually or cumulatively. It must not be assumed that growth in any area is necessarily beneficial, detrimental, or of little significance to the environment.
Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections
21002, 21003, and 21100, Public Resources Code; Citizens of Goleta Valley v. Board of Supervisors, (1990) 52 Cal.3d
553; Laurel Heights Improvement
Association v. Regents of the University of California, (1988) 47 Cal.3d
376; Gentry v. City of Murrieta
(1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1359; and Laurel
Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California
(1993) 6 Cal.4th 1112; Goleta Union
School Dist. v. Regents of the Univ. Of
This section describes how an
15126.4 Consideration and Discussion of Mitigation Measures Proposed to Minimize Significant Effects.
(a) Mitigation Measures in General.
(A) The discussion of
mitigation measures shall distinguish between the measures which are proposed
by project proponents to be included in the project and other measures proposed
by the lead, responsible or trustee agency or other persons which are not
included but the lead agency determines could reasonably be expected to reduce
adverse impacts if required as conditions of approving the project. This discussion
shall identify mitigation measures for each significant environmental effect
identified in the
(B) Where several measures are available to mitigate an impact, each should be discussed and the basis for selecting a particular measure should be identified. Formulation of mitigation measures should not be deferred until some future time. However, measures may specify performance standards which would mitigate the significant effect of the project and which may be accomplished in more than one specified way.
(C) Energy conservation measures, as well as other appropriate mitigation measures, shall be discussed when relevant. Examples of energy conservation measures are provided in Appendix F.
(D) If a mitigation measure would cause one or more significant effects in addition to those that would be caused by the project as proposed, the effects of the mitigation measure shall be discussed but in less detail than the significant effects of the project as proposed. (Stevens v. City of Glendale(1981) 125 Cal.App.3d 986.)
(2) Mitigation measures must be fully enforceable through permit conditions, agreements, or other legally-binding instruments. In the case of the adoption of a plan, policy, regulation, or other public project, mitigation measures can be incorporated into the plan, policy, regulation, or project design.
(3) Mitigation measures are not required for effects which are not found to be significant.
(4) Mitigation measures must be consistent with all applicable constitutional requirements, including the following:
(A) There must be an
essential nexus (i.e. connection) between the mitigation measure and a
legitimate governmental interest. Nollan v.
(B) The mitigation measure
must be "roughly proportional" to the impacts of the project. Dolan v. City of
(5) If the lead agency
determines that a mitigation measure cannot be legally imposed, the measure
need not be proposed or analyzed. Instead, the
(b) Mitigation Measures Related to Impacts on Historical Resources.
(1) Where maintenance, repair, stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, conservation or reconstruction of the historical resource will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving,Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings (1995), Weeks and Grimmer, the project's impact on the historical resource shall generally be considered mitigated below a level of significance and thus is not significant.
(2) In some circumstances, documentation of an historical resource, by way of historic narrative, photographs or architectural drawings, as mitigation for the effects of demolition of the resource will not mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant effect on the environment would occur.
(3) Public agencies should,
whenever feasible, seek to avoid damaging effects on any historical resource of
an archaeological nature. The following factors shall be considered and
discussed in an
(A) Preservation in place is the preferred manner of mitigating impacts to archaeological sites. Preservation in place maintains the relationship between artifacts and the archaeological context. Preservation may also avoid conflict with religious or cultural values of groups associated with the site.
(B) Preservation in place may be accomplished by, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Planning construction to avoid archaeological sites;
2. Incorporation of sites within parks, greenspace, or other open space;
3. Covering the archaeological sites with a layer of chemically stable soil before building tennis courts, parking lots, or similar facilities on the site.
4. Deeding the site into a permanent conservation easement.
(C) When data recovery through
excavation is the only feasible mitigation, a data recovery plan, which makes
provisions for adequately recovering the scientifically consequential
information from and about the historical resource, shall be prepared and
adopted prior to any excavation being undertaken. Such studies shall be deposited with the
(D) Data recovery shall not
be required for an historical resource if the lead agency determines that
testing or studies already completed have adequately recovered the
scientifically consequential information from and about the archaeological or
historical resource, provided that the determination is documented in the
Authority: Section 21083, Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections 5020.5, 21002, 21003, 21100 and 21084.1, Public Resources Code; Citizens of Goleta Valley v. Board of Supervisors (1990) 52 Cal.3d 553; Laurel Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California (1988) 47 Cal.3d 376; Gentry v. City of Murrieta (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1359; Laurel Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California (1993) 6 Cal.4th 1112; and Sacramento Old City Assn. v. City Council of Sacramento (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1011.
15126.6 Consideration and Discussion of Alternatives to the Proposed Project.
(a) Alternatives to the
Proposed Project. An
(b) Purpose. Because an
(c) Selection of a range of
reasonable alternatives. The range of potential alternatives to the proposed
project shall include those that could feasibly accomplish most of the basic
objectives of the project and could avoid or substantially lessen one or more
of the significant effects. The
(d) Evaluation of
(e) "No project" alternative.
(1) The specific alternative of "no project" shall also be evaluated along with its impact. The purpose of describing and analyzing a no project alternative is to allow decisionmakers to compare the impacts of approving the proposed project with the impacts of not approving the proposed project. The no project alternative analysis is not the baseline for determining whether the proposed project's environmental impacts may be significant, unless it is identical to the existing environmental setting analysis which does establish that baseline (see Section 15125).
(2) The "no
project" analysis shall discuss the existing conditions at the time the
notice of preparation is published, or if no notice of preparation is
published, at the time environmental analysis is commenced, as well as what
would be reasonably expected to occur in the foreseeable future if the project
were not approved, based on current plans and consistent with available
infrastructure and community services. If the environmentally superior
alternative is the "no project" alternative, the
(3) A discussion of the "no project" alternative will usually proceed along one of two lines:
(A) When the project is the revision of an existing land use or regulatory plan, policy or ongoing operation, the "no project" alternative will be the continuation of the existing plan, policy or operation into the future. Typically this is a situation where other projects initiated under the existing plan will continue while the new plan is developed. Thus, the projected impacts of the proposed plan or alternative plans would be compared to the impacts that would occur under the existing plan.
(B) If the project is other than a land use or regulatory plan, for example a development project on identifiable property, the "no project" alternative is the circumstance under which the project does not proceed. Here the discussion would compare the environmental effects of the property remaining in its existing state against environmental effects which would occur if the project is approved. If disapproval of the project under consideration would result in predictable actions by others, such as the proposal of some other project, this "no project" consequence should be discussed. In certain instances, the no project alternative means "no build" wherein the existing environmental setting is maintained. However, where failure to proceed with the project will not result in preservation of existing environmental conditions, the analysis should identify the practical result of the project's non-approval and not create and analyze a set of artificial assumptions that would be required to preserve the existing physical environment.
(C) After defining the no project alternative using one of these approaches, the lead agency should proceed to analyze the impacts of the no project alternative by projecting what would reasonably be expected to occur in the foreseeable future if the project were not approved, based on current plans and consistent with available infrastructure and community services.
(f) Rule of reason. The range
of alternatives required in an
(1) Feasibility. Among the factors that may be taken into account when addressing the feasibility of alternatives are site suitability, economic viability, availability of infrastructure, general plan consistency, other plans or regulatory limitations, jurisdictional boundaries (projects with a regionally significant impact should consider the regional context), and whether the proponent can reasonably acquire, control or otherwise have access to the alternative site (or the site is already owned by the proponent). No one of these factors establishes a fixed limit on the scope of reasonable alternatives. (Citizens of Goleta Valley v. Board of Supervisors (1990) 52 Cal.3d 553; see Save Our Residential Environment v. City of West Hollywood (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1745, 1753, fn. 1).
(2) Alternative locations.
(A) Key question. The key
question and first step in analysis is whether any of the significant effects
of the project would be avoided or substantially lessened by putting the
project in another location. Only locations that would avoid or substantially
lessen any of the significant effects of the project need be considered for
inclusion in the
(B) None feasible. If the
lead agency concludes that no feasible alternative locations exist, it must
disclose the reasons for this conclusion, and should include the reasons in the
(C) Limited new analysis
required. Where a previous document has sufficiently analyzed a range of
reasonable alternative locations and environmental impacts for projects with
the same basic purpose, the lead agency should review the previous document.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections 21002, 21002.1, 21003, and 21100, Public Resources Code; Citizens of Goleta Valley v. Board of Supervisors, (1990) 52 Cal.3d 553; Laurel Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California, (1988) 47 Cal.3d 376; Gentry v. City of Murrieta (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1359; and Laurel Heights Improvement Association v. Regents of the University of California (1993) 6 Cal.4th 1112.
Discussion: This section examines the required discussion of project alternatives. Subsection (b) states that the discussion shall focus on alternatives to the project or its location which can avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant impacts of the project and shall evaluate their comparative merits. Subsection (c) includes guidance on the selection of a reasonable range of feasible alternatives, including the need to document the process of selecting alternatives. Subsection (e) describes the ìno projectî alternative, including its relationship to the baseline conditions under which the project is evaluated for potential significance and the analysis of the potential impacts if the project is not undertaken. Subsection (f) discusses the ìrule of reasonî in detail, including such factors as feasibility, location, and speculation, which help agencies select a reasonable range of alternatives.
15127. Limitations on Discussion of Environmental Impact
The information required by Section 15126.2(c) concerning irreversible changes, need be included only in EIRs prepared in connection with any of the following activities:
(a) The adoption, amendment, or enactment of a plan, policy, or ordinance of a public agency;
(b) The adoption by a Local Agency Formation Commission of a resolution making determinations; or
(c) A project which will be subject to the requirement for preparing an environmental impact statement pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21100.1, Public Resources Code.
Discussion: The reference in this section to previous subsection (e) of Section 15126 has been deleted. The statutory requirement for a discussion of the relationship between short-term uses and long-term productivity was repealed by Chapter 1230 of the Statutes of 1994.
15128. Effects Not Found to be Significant
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21100, Public Resources Code.
section repeats the statutory requirement from Section 21100 for an
15129. Organizations and Persons Consulted
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21104 and 21153, Public Resources Code.
Discussion: This section requires the Lead Agency to disclose the agencies, organizations, and individuals whom it consulted pursuant to Sections 21104 or 21153.
15130. Discussion of Cumulative Impacts
(1) As defined in Section
15355, a cumulative impact consists of an impact which is created as a result
of the combination of the project evaluated in the
(2) When the combined
cumulative impact associated with the project's incremental effect and the
effects of other projects is not significant, the
(b) The discussion of cumulative impacts shall reflect the severity of the impacts and their likelihood of occurrence, but the discussion need not provide as great detail as is provided for the effects attributable to the project alone. The discussion should be guided by standards of practicality and reasonableness, and should focus on the cumulative impact to which the identified other projects contribute rather than the attributes of other projects which do not contribute to the cumulative impact. The following elements are necessary to an adequate discussion of significant cumulative impacts:
(A) A list of past, present, and probable future projects producing related or cumulative impacts, including, if necessary, those projects outside the control of the agency, or
(B) A summary of projections contained in an adopted general plan or related planning document, or in a prior environmental document which has been adopted or certified, which described or evaluated regional or areawide conditions contributing to the cumulative impact. Any such planning document shall be referenced and made available to the public at a location specified by the lead agency.
(2) When utilizing a list, as suggested in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), factors to consider when determining whether to include a related project should include the nature of each environmental resource being examined, the location of the project and its type. Location may be important, for example, when water quality impacts are at issue since projects outside the watershed would probably not contribute to a cumulative effect. Project type may be important, for example, when the impact is specialized, such as a particular air pollutant or mode of traffic.
(3) Lead agencies should define the geographic scope of the area affected by the cumulative effect and provide a reasonable explanation for the geographic limitation used.
(4) A summary of the expected environmental effects to be produced by those projects with specific reference to additional information stating where that information is available; and
(5) A reasonable analysis of
the cumulative impacts of the relevant projects. An
(c) With some projects, the only feasible mitigation for cumulative impacts may involve the adoption of ordinances or regulations rather than the imposition of conditions on a project-by-project basis.
(d) Previously approved land
use documents such as general plans, specific plans, and local coastal plans
may be used in cumulative impact analysis. A pertinent discussion of cumulative
impacts contained in one or more previously certified EIRs
may be incorporated by reference pursuant to the provisions for tiering and program EIRs. No
further cumulative impacts analysis is required when a project is consistent
with a general, specific, master or comparable programmatic plan where the lead
agency determines that the regional or areawide
cumulative impacts of the proposed project have already been adequately
addressed, as defined in section 15152(f), in a certified
(e) If a cumulative impact
was adequately addressed in a prior
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections 21083(b), 21093, 21094 and 21100, Public Resources Code; Whitman v. Board of Supervisors, (1979) 88 Cal. App. 3d 397; San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth v. City and County of San Francisco (1984) 151 Cal.App.3d 61; Kings County Farm Bureau v. City of Hanford (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 692; Laurel Heights Homeowners Association v. Regents of the University of California (1988) 47 Cal.3d 376; Sierra Club v. Gilroy (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 30; Citizens to Preserve the Ojai v. County of Ventura (1985) 176 Cal.App.3d 421; Concerned Citizens of South Cent. Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. (1994) 24 Cal.App.4th 826; Las Virgenes Homeowners Fed'n v. County of Los Angeles (1986) 177 Cal.App.3d 300; San Joaquin Raptor/Wildlife Rescue Ctr v. County of Stanislaus (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 713; Fort Mojave Indian Tribe v. Cal. Dept. Of Health Services (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 1574; and Communities for a Better Environment v. California Resources Agency (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 98.
section is necessary to explain how to discuss cumulative impacts in an
When analyzing the cumulative
impacts of a project under 15130 (b)(1)(A), the Lead Agency is required to
discuss not only approved projects under construction and approved related
projects not yet under construction, but also unapproved projects currently
under environmental review with related impacts or which result in significant cumulative
impacts. This analysis should include a discussion of projects under review by
the Lead Agency and projects under review by other relevant public agencies,
using reasonable efforts to discover, disclose, and discuss the other related
projects. The cumulative impact analysis requires a discussion of projects with
related cumulative impacts which required EIRs,
Negative Declarations, or were exempt from CEQA. (See: San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth v. City and County of San
Francisco, (1984) 151 Cal. App. 3d 61.) The court in SFFRG took note of the
problem of where to draw the line on projects undergoing environmental review
since application of new projects are constantly being submitted. A reasonable
point might be after the preparation of the draft
authorizes a lead agency to limit its analysis of probable future projects to
those which are planned or which have had an application made at the time the
NOP is released for review. This describes a reasonable point in time at which
to begin the cumulative impact analysis. Without this guideline, the cumulative
impact analysis may suffer frequent revision as new, incremental projects are
identified. If additional projects are identified later, they may be addressed
during completion of the final
Cumulative impacts analysis
must include reasonably anticipated future activities of a project or
associated with the project. Whether these activities are addressed in the
cumulative impact analysis section or in the impacts associated with the
project, as defined, if there is substantial evidence indicating reasonable
foreseeable future projects or activities, an
Consistent with the holding in Antioch v. Pittsburg (see discussion with Section 15126), a cumulative impact analysis should address the most probable development patterns.
This section describes the
analysis necessary where a project will make a considerable contribution to a
cumulative effect (see also section 15064). Based on the holding in San Joaquin
Raptor/Wildlife Rescue Center v. County of Stanislaus (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th
608, subdivision (a) provides that when the lead agency determines that a
project makes only a de minimus contribution to a
cumulative effect no analysis of the cumulative effect is needed. This
subsection also provides that an
Subsection (b) discusses the elements necessary for an adequate discussion of significant cumulative impacts. It recommends that the discussion focus on the particular cumulative impact to which other projects contribute rather than on the non-contributing aspects of those projects. This subsection offers further guidance on focusing the discussion on impacts rather than on other projects per se.
Subsection (d) links
cumulative impact analysis to tiering and other
similar approaches which seek to limit redundant analyses. Where cumulative
impacts have been adequately addressed in the
15131. Economic and Social Effects
Economic or social
information may be included in an
(a) Economic or social
effects of a project shall not be treated as significant effects on the
(b) Economic or social
effects of a project may be used to determine the significance of physical
changes caused by the project. For example, if the construction of a new
freeway or rail line divides an existing community, the construction would be
the physical change, but the social effect on the community would be the basis
for determining that the effect would be significant. As an additional example,
if the construction of a road and the resulting increase in noise in an area
disturbed existing religious practices in the area, the disturbance of the
religious practices could be used to determine that the construction and use of
the road and the resulting noise would be significant effects on the
environment. The religious practices would need to be analyzed only to the
extent to show that the increase in traffic and noise would conflict with the
religious practices. Where an
(c) Economic, social, and
particularly housing factors shall be considered by public agencies together with
technological and environmental factors in deciding whether changes in a
project are feasible to reduce or avoid the significant effects on the
environment identified in the
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21001(e) and (g), 21002, 21002.1, 21060.5, 21080.1, 21083(c), and 21100, Public Resources Code.
section is necessary because there has been confusion over the authority of a
Lead Agency to include economic and social information in an
The term "significant effect on the environment" is defined in Section 21068 of CEQA as meaning "a substantial or potentially substantial adverse change in the environment." This focus on physical changes is further reinforced by Sections 21100 and 21151.
Despite the implication of these sections, CEQA does not focus exclusively on physical changes, and it is not exclusively physical in concern. For example, in Section 21083(c), CEQA requires an agency to determine that a project may have a significant effect on the environment if it will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly. This section was added to CEQA by the same bill in 1972 (AB 889, Chapter 1154 of the Statutes of 1972) that added the definition of the term "environment" and the term "project".
The interpretation provided
in Section 15131 starts with the analysis as used in the Friends of Mammoth decision, (1972) 8
Once a physical change or a
potential physical change has been identified, the Lead Agency must determine
whether substantial evidence exists indicating that the physical change will be
significant and thereby require preparation of an
Under the interpretation provided in this section, effects on facilities or services are not automatically regarded as significant effects of a project. The changes must be related to or caused by physical changes. If the project causes a direct physical change in a facility by pumping ground water and causing ground settling under the facility, the resulting deterioration can be easily regarded as a significant effect. If the project causes physical changes that affect the use of the facility, the effects on use may be considered a significant effect in the same way as increases in traffic are often treated as significant effects.
In Citizens Association for Sensible Development of Bishop Area v. Inyo
15132. Contents of Final Environmental Impact Report
(a) The draft
(b) Comments and
recommendations received on the draft
(c) A list of persons,
organizations, and public agencies commenting on the draft
(d) The responses of the Lead Agency to significant environmental points raised in the review and consultation process.
(e) Any other information added by the Lead Agency.
Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21100, Public Resources Code.
section is necessary in order to explain the difference between a draft
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