Grassroots Guide to CEQA’s Purpose, Power, and Process

This workshop was an introduction to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), with a focus on its purpose and implementation. An emphasis was placed on practical use and application to give attendees an understanding of the law and CEQA process. The workshop was intended to empower local residents and local environmental and social justice groups with the ability to affect decisions at the local level.

The California Environmental Quality Act  (CEQA) is California’s preeminent environmental law, and has helped safeguard the state’s lands, air, waters and communities for more than four decades.

The law requires state and local agencies to assess and disclose environmental impacts of proposed projects, and to minimize or mitigate those impacts to the greatest extent possible. It is an environmental ‘bill of rights’ that ensures the public is engaged in the decisions that impact them most directly. And it is a law that has fostered more environmentally sound projects in virtually every community throughout California.

This course covered the topics below. Question and answer sessions followed each segment.

  • Definition of a project under CEQA
  • CEQA’s 3‐ step evaluation process
  • Climate Change and CEQA Overview
  • Negative declaration / Mitigated negative declaration
  • Contents of an Environmental Impact Report
  • Public Review of an Environmental Impact Report
  • How to target comments on DEIR
  • How to present comments on DEIR
  • Final Environmental Impact Report
  • Certification, Project Decision, and Recirculation
  • Legal challenge of an agency’s decision

Updated March 30, 2015