Responsible Agency Makes a Decision on the Permit

CEQA Review Must Be Completed Prior to Approval of a Permit for 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 Responsible Agency Disapprove a Permit or Other Entitlement Based on CEQA Grounds?

  • Authority to approve or disapprove a permit for a project is based on the underlying state statutes and enabling regulations going to the issuance of the permit for the project.
  • Disapproval of a permit for a project must be based on environmental impacts to the project areas over which the responsible agency has jurisdiction.
  • This standard is similar to that required of a responsible agency in adopting mitigation measures.

Does a Responsible Agency Have Authority to Approve a Permit Despite Existing Significant Environmental Effects?

  • A responsible agency may approve a project with significant environmental effects based on a fully informed and publically disclosed decision that:
  • There is no feasible way to lessen or avoid the significant effects according to the responsible 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