Lead Agency Makes a Decision on the Project

CEQA Review Must Be Completed Prior to Approval of a Project

  • Preparation of EIRs and Negative Declarations must be prepared in coordination with the planning, review, and approval processes of each agency involved.
  • Early Preparation is necessary for the legal validity of the CEQA process and for the usefulness of CEQA documents.
  • Early Preparation also enables agencies to make revisions to projects to reduce or avoid adverse effects at a time when such changes can be completed with minimal difficulty.

To What Extent May a Lead Agency Disapprove a Project?

  • Authority to approve or disapprove a project is based on the underlying state statutes and enabling regulations going to the issuance of the permit for the project.
  • A lead agency may disapprove a project if necessary in order to avoid significant environmental effects.
  • A lead agency has broader authority to disapprove a project than a does responsible agency, whose authority is limited to disapproving a project based only areas over which the responsible agency has jurisdiction.

Does a Lead Agency Have Authority to Approve a Project Despite Existing Significant Environmental Effects?

  • A lead agency may approve a project with significant environmental effects based on a fully informed and publicly disclosed decision that:
  • There is no feasible way to lessen or avoid the significant effects according to the lead agency’s findings prepared according to §15091; and
  • The specifically identified benefits of the project outweigh the benefits of reducing or avoiding such environmental impacts as described in the statement of overriding considerations required by §15093.

Selected Statutory References

Selected Guidelines References

Selected Cases