Chapter 4: Local Agencies
Environmental impact report required before allocation of state or federal
State agencies, boards, and commissions, responsible for allocating state or
federal funds on a project-by-project basis to local agencies for any project
which may have a significant effect on the environment, shall require from the
responsible local governmental agency a detailed statement setting forth the
matters specified in Section 21100 prior to the allocation of any funds other than
funds solely for projects involving only feasibility or planning studies for
possible future actions which the agency, board, or commission has not
approved, adopted, or funded.
§ 21151. Local agencies; preparation and completion
of impact report; submission as part of general plan report; significant effect
(a) All local agencies shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract, and
certify the completion of, an environmental impact report on any project that
they intend to carry out or approve which may have a significant effect on the
environment. When a report is required by Section 65402 of the Government Code,
the environmental impact report may be submitted as a part of that report.
(b) For purposes of this section, any significant effect on the environment
shall be limited to substantial, or potentially substantial, adverse changes in
physical conditions which exist within the area as defined in Section 21060.5.
(c) When an environmental impact report is certified by a local lead agency's
decisionmaking body which is not elected, that certification may be appealed to
the agency's elected decisionmaking body, if any.
§ 21151.1. Waste-burning projects; land disposal
facilities, and offsite large treatment facilities; environmental impact reports;
application of section; exemptions; offsite facility defined
(a) Notwithstanding paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 21080, or
Section 21080.5 or 21084, or any other provision of law, except as provided in
this section, a lead agency shall prepare or cause to be prepared by contract,
and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report or, if
appropriate, a modification, addendum, or supplement to an existing
environmental impact report, for any project involving any of the following:
(1)(A) The burning of municipal wastes, hazardous waste, or refuse-derived
fuel, including, but not limited to, tires, if the project is either of the
(i) The construction of a new facility.
(ii) The expansion of an existing facility that burns hazardous waste that
would increase its permitted capacity by more than 10 percent.
(B) This paragraph does not apply to any project exclusively burning hazardous
waste, for which a final determination under Section 21080.1 has been made
prior to July 14, 1989.
(2) The initial issuance of a hazardous waste facilities permit to a land
disposal facility, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 25199.1 of the
Health and Safety Code.
(3) The initial issuance of a hazardous waste facilities permit pursuant to Section
25200 of the Health and Safety Code to an offsite large treatment facility, as
defined pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 25205.1 of the Health and Safety
(4) A base reuse plan as defined in Section 21083.8 or 21083.8.1. The
Legislature hereby finds that no reimbursement is required pursuant to Section
6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for an environmental impact
report for a base reuse plan if an environmental impact report is otherwise
required for that base reuse plan pursuant to any other provision of this
(b) For purposes of clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) of subparagraph (B) of
paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), the amount of expansion of an existing
facility shall be calculated by comparing the proposed facility capacity with
whichever of the following is applicable:
(1) The facility capacity authorized in the facility's hazardous waste
facilities permit pursuant to Section 25200 of the Health and Safety Code or
its grant of interim status pursuant to Section 25200.5 of the Health and
Safety Code, or the facility capacity authorized in any state or local agency
permit allowing the construction or operation of a facility for the burning of
hazardous waste, granted before January 1, 1990.
(2) The facility capacity authorized in the facility's original hazardous waste
facilities permit, grant of interim status, or any state or local agency permit
allowing the construction or operation of a facility for the burning of
hazardous waste, granted on or after January 1, 1990.
(c) For purposes of paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (a), the initial
issuance of a hazardous waste facilities permit does not include the issuance
of a closure or postclosure permit pursuant to Chapter 6.5 (commencing with
Section 25100) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) Paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) does not apply to any project that does
any of the following:
(1) Exclusively burns digester gas produced from manure or any other solid or
semisolid animal waste.
(2) Exclusively burns methane gas produced from a disposal site, as defined in
Section 40122, that is used only for the disposal of solid waste, as defined in
(3) Exclusively burns forest, agricultural, wood, or other biomass wastes.
(4) Exclusively burns hazardous waste in an incineration unit that is
transportable and that is either at a site for not longer than three years or
is part of a remedial or removal action. For purposes of this paragraph,
"transportable" means any equipment that performs a "treatment"
as defined in Section 66216 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations,
and that is transported on a vehicle as defined in Section 66230 of Title 22 of
the California Code of Regulations.
(5) Exclusively burns refinery waste in a flare on the site of generation.
(6) Exclusively burns in a flare methane gas produced at a municipal sewage
(7) Exclusively burns hazardous waste, or exclusively burns hazardous waste as
a supplemental fuel, as part of a research, development, or demonstration
project that, consistent with federal regulations implementing the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended (42 U.S.C. Sec. 6901 et
seq.), has been determined to be innovative and experimental by the Department
of Toxic Substances Control and that is limited in type and quantity of waste
to that necessary to determine the efficacy and performance capabilities of the
technology or process; provided, however, that any facility that operated as a
research, development, or demonstration project and for which an application is
thereafter submitted for a hazardous waste facility permit for operation other
than as a research, development, or demonstration project shall be considered a
new facility for the burning of hazardous waste and shall be subject to
subdivision (a) of Section 21151.1.
(8) Exclusively burns soils contaminated only with petroleum fuels or the
vapors from these soils.
(9) Exclusively treats less than 3,000 pounds of hazardous waste per day in a
thermal processing unit operated in the absence of open flame, and submits a
worst-case health risk assessment of the technology to the Department of Toxic
Substances Control for review and distribution to the interested public. This
assessment shall be prepared in accordance with guidelines set forth in the Air
Toxics Assessment Manual of the California Air Pollution Control Officers
(10) Exclusively burns less than 1,200 pounds per day of medical waste, as
defined in Section 117690 of the Health and Safety Code, on hospital sites.
(11) Exclusively burns chemicals and fuels as part of firefighter training.
(12) Exclusively conducts open burns of explosives subject to the requirements
of the air pollution control district or air quality management district and in
compliance with OSHA and Cal-OSHA regulations.
(13) Exclusively conducts onsite burning of less than 3,000 pounds per day of
fumes directly from a manufacturing or commercial process.
(14) Exclusively conducts onsite burning of hazardous waste in an industrial
furnace that recovers hydrogen chloride from the flue gas if the hydrogen
chloride is subsequently sold, distributed in commerce, or used in a
manufacturing process at the site where the hydrogen chloride is recovered, and
the burning is in compliance with the requirements of the air pollution control
district or air quality management district and the Department of Toxic
(e) Paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) does not apply to any project for which
the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission has assumed
jurisdiction under Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 25500) of Division 15.
(f) Paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (a) shall not apply if the facility
only manages hazardous waste that is identified or listed pursuant to Section
25140 or 25141 on or after January 1, 1992, but not before that date, or only
conducts activities that are regulated pursuant to Chapter 6.5 (commencing with
Section 25100) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code on or after January
1, 1992, but not before that date.
(g) This section does not exempt any project from any other requirement of this
(h) For purposes of this section, offsite facility means a facility that serves
more than one generator of hazardous waste.
§ 21151.2. School site proposed acquisition or
addition; notice to planning commission; investigation; report
To promote the safety of pupils and comprehensive community planning the
governing board of each school district before acquiring title to property for
a new school site or for an addition to a present school site, shall give the
planning commission having jurisdiction notice in writing of the proposed
acquisition. The planning commission shall investigate the proposed site and
within 30 days after receipt of the notice shall submit to the governing board
a written report of the investigation and its recommendations concerning
acquisition of the site.
The governing board shall not acquire title to the property until the report of
the planning commission has been received. If the report does not favor the
acquisition of the property for a school site, or for an addition to a present
school site, the governing board of the school district shall not acquire title
to the property until 30 days after the commission's report is received.
§ 21151.4. Construction or alteration of facility
within 1/4 mile of school; reasonable anticipation of air emission or handling
of hazardous or acutely hazardous material; approval of environmental impact
report or negative declaration
No environmental impact report or negative declaration shall be approved for
any project involving the construction or alteration of a facility within 1/4
of a mile of a school which might reasonably be anticipated to emit hazardous
or acutely hazardous air emission, or which would handle acutely hazardous
material or a mixture containing acutely hazardous material in a quantity equal
to or greater than the quantity specified in subdivision (a) of Section 25536
of the Health and Safety Code, which may pose a health or safety hazard to
persons who would attend or would be employed at the school, unless both of the
(a) The lead agency preparing the environmental impact report or negative
declaration has consulted with the school district having jurisdiction
regarding the potential impact of the project on the school.
(b) The school district has been given written notification of the project not
less than 30 days prior to the proposed approval of the environmental impact
report or negative declaration.
§ 21151.5. Time limits for preparation of
environmental impact reports and negative declarations
(a)(1) For projects described in subdivision (c) of Section 21065, each local
agency shall establish, by ordinance or resolution, time limits that do not
exceed the following:
(A) One year for completing and certifying environmental impact reports.
(B) One hundred eighty days for completing and adopting negative declarations.
(2) The time limits specified in paragraph (1) shall apply only to those
circumstances in which the local agency is the lead agency for a project. These
ordinances or resolutions may establish different time limits for different
types or classes of projects and different types of environmental impact
reports, but all limits shall be measured from the date on which an application
requesting approval of the project is received and accepted as complete by the
(3) No application for a project may be deemed incomplete for lack of a waiver
of time periods prescribed by local ordinance or resolution.
(4) The ordinances or resolutions required by this section may provide for a
reasonable extension of the time period in the event that compelling
circumstances justify additional time and the project applicant consents
(b) If a draft environmental impact report, environmental impact report, or
focused environmental impact report is prepared under a contract to a local
agency, the contract shall be executed within 45 days from the date on which
the local agency sends a notice of preparation pursuant to Section 21080.4. The
local agency may take longer to execute the contract if the project applicant
and the local agency mutually agree to an extension of the time limit provided
by this subdivision.
§ 21151.7. Preparation and certification of
completion of environmental impact report for open-pit mining operation by lead
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a lead agency shall prepare or
cause to be prepared by contract, and certify the completion of, an
environmental impact report for any open-pit mining operation which is subject
to the permit requirements of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975
(Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 2710) of Division 2) and utilizes a cyanide
heap-leaching process for the purpose of producing gold or other precious
§ 21151.8. Schoolsite acquisition or construction;
approval of environmental impact report or negative declaration; conditions
(a) No environmental impact report or negative declaration shall be approved
for any project involving the purchase of a schoolsite or the construction of a
new elementary or secondary school by a school district unless all of the
(1) The environmental impact report or negative declaration includes
information which is needed to determine if the property proposed to be
purchased, or to be constructed upon, is any of the following:
(A) The site of a current or former hazardous waste disposal site or solid
waste disposal site and, if so, whether the wastes have been removed.
(B) A hazardous substance release site identified by the State Department of
Health Services in a current list adopted pursuant to Section 25356 for removal
or remedial action pursuant to Chapter 6.8 (commencing with Section 25300) of
Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code.
(C) A site which contains one or more pipelines, situated underground or
aboveground, which carries hazardous substances, acutely hazardous materials,
or hazardous wastes, unless the pipeline is a natural gas line which is used
only to supply natural gas to that school or neighborhood.
(2) The lead agency preparing the environmental impact report or negative
declaration has notified in writing and consulted with the administering agency
in which the proposed schoolsite is located, and with any air pollution control
district or air quality management district having jurisdiction in the area, to
identify facilities within one-fourth of a mile of the proposed schoolsite
which might reasonably be anticipated to emit hazardous emissions or handle
hazardous or acutely hazardous materials, substances, or waste. The
notification by the lead agency shall include a list of the locations for which
information is sought.
(3) The governing board of the school district makes one of the following
(A) Consultation identified no such facilities specified in paragraph (2).
(B) The facilities specified in paragraph (2) exist, but one of the following
(i) The health risks from the facilities do not and will not constitute an
actual or potential endangerment of public health to persons who would attend
or be employed at the proposed school.
(ii) Corrective measures required under an existing order by another agency
having jurisdiction over the facilities will, before the school is occupied,
result in the mitigation of all chronic or accidental hazardous air emissions
to levels that do not constitute an actual or potential endangerment of public
health to persons who would attend or be employed at the proposed school. If
the governing board makes such a finding, it shall also make a subsequent
finding, prior to occupancy of the school, that the emissions have been so
(4) Each administering agency, air pollution control district, or air quality
management district receiving written notification from a lead agency to
identify facilities pursuant to paragraph (2) shall provide the requested
information and provide a written response to the lead agency within 30 days of
receiving the notification. The environmental impact report or negative
declaration shall be conclusively presumed to comply with this section as to
the area of responsibility of any agency which does not respond within 30 days.
(b) If a lead agency has carried out the consultation required by paragraph (2)
of subdivision (a), the environmental impact report or the negative declaration
shall be conclusively presumed to comply with this section, notwithstanding any
failure of the consultation to identify an existing facility specified in
paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
(c) As used in this section and Section 21151.4, the following definitions
(1) "Hazardous substance" means any substance defined in Section
25316 of the Health and Safety Code.
(2) "Acutely hazardous material" means any material defined pursuant
to subdivision (a) of Section 25532 of the Health and Safety Code.
(3) "Hazardous waste" means any waste defined in Section 25117 of the
Health and Safety Code.
(4) "Hazardous waste disposal site" means any site defined in Section
25114 of the Health and Safety Code.
(5) "Hazardous air emissions" means emissions into the ambient air of
air contaminants which have been identified as a toxic air contaminant by the
State Air Resources Board or by the air pollution control officer for the
jurisdiction in which the project is located. As determined by the air
pollution control officer, hazardous air emissions also means emissions into
the ambient air from any substances identified in subdivisions (a) to (f), inclusive,
of Section 44321 of the Health and Safety Code.
(6) "Administering agency" means an agency designated pursuant to
Section 25502 of the Health and Safety Code.
(7) "Handle" means handle as defined in Article 1 (commencing with
Section 25500) of Chapter 6.95 of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code.
§ 21151.9. Projects subject to this division;
Whenever a city or county determines that a project, as defined in Section
10912 of the Water Code, is subject to this division, it shall
comply with Part 2.10 (commencing with Section 10910) of Division 6 of the
§ 21151.10. Environmental impact reports for projects
at specified airport; joint management alternative
(a) If an environmental impact report is prepared for a project at an airport
that is owned by a city and county and that is located in another county that
includes more than one acre of fill in the San Francisco Bay, the environmental
impact report shall analyze, as an alternative to the project, a form of joint
management of that airport owned by the city and county and the Oakland
International Airport. This joint management alternative shall separately
analyze an underground high-speed rail transit connection and a high-speed
ferry connection between the two airports and shall utilize in both analyses
all technological enhancements reasonably expected to be available. The
analysis of the joint management alternative shall include a meaningful
evaluation, analysis, and comparison of the alternative with the proposed
project, and shall assess the feasibility of the alternative notwithstanding
that changes in state law may be required for its implementation. The
environmental impact report shall identify any changes in state law that would
be required in order to implement this alternative.
(b) Nothing in this section or in Section 21085.7 shall be interpreted in a
manner that alters the lead agency's obligation to comply with this division in
connection with proposed mitigation measures other than the mitigation measure
described in Section 21085.7.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2008, and as of
that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before
January 1, 2008, deletes or extends that date.
§ 21152. Local agency; approval or determination to
carry out project; notice; contents; public inspection; posting
(a) Whenever a local agency approves or determines to carry out a project which
is subject to this division, it shall file notice of the approval or the
determination within five working days after the approval or determination
becomes final, with the county clerk of each county in which the project will
be located. The notice shall indicate the determination of the local agency
whether the project will, or will not, have a significant effect on the
environment and shall indicate whether an environmental impact report has been
prepared pursuant to this division. The notice shall also include certification
that the final environmental impact report, if one was prepared, together with
comments and responses, is available to the general public.
(b) Whenever a local agency determines that a project is not subject to this
division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or pursuant to Section
21085 or 21172, and it approves or determines to carry out the project, it, or
the person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065, may file a
notice of the determination with the county clerk of each county in which the
project will be located. Any notice filed pursuant to this subdivision by a
person specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 21065 shall have a
certificate of determination attached to it issued by the local agency
responsible for making the determination that the project is not subject to
this division pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 21080 or pursuant to
Section 21085 or 21172. The certificate of determination may be in the form of
a certified copy of an existing document or record of the local agency.
(c) All notices filed pursuant to this section shall be available for public
inspection, and shall be posted within 24 hours of receipt in the office of the
county clerk. Each notice shall remain posted for a period of 30 days.
Thereafter, the clerk shall return the notice to the local agency with a
notation of the period it was posted. The local agency shall retain the notice
for not less than nine months.
§ 21153. Local lead agency; consultations prior to
completion of impact report
(a) Prior to completing an environmental impact report, every local lead agency
shall consult with, and obtain comments from, each responsible agency, any
public agency that has jurisdiction by law with respect to the project, and any
city or county that borders on a city or county within which the project is
located unless otherwise designated annually by agreement between the local
lead agency and the city or county, and may consult with any person who has
special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved. In the
case of a project described in subdivision (c) of Section 21065, the local lead
agency shall, upon the request of the project applicant, provide for early
consultation to identify the range of actions, alternatives, mitigation
measures, and significant effects to be analyzed in depth in the environmental
impact report. The local lead agency may consult with persons identified by the
project applicant that the applicant believes will be concerned with the
environmental effects of the project and may consult with members of the public
who have made written request to be consulted on the project. A request by the
project applicant for early consultation shall be made not later than 30 days
after the date that the determination required by Section 21080.1 was made with
respect to the project. The local lead agency may charge and collect a fee from
the project applicant in an amount that does not exceed the actual costs of the
(b) In the case of a project described in subdivision (a) of Section 21065, the
lead agency may provide for early consultation to identify the range of
actions, alternatives, mitigation measures, and significant effects to be
analyzed in depth in the environmental impact report. At the request of the
lead agency, the Office of Planning and Research shall ensure that each
responsible agency, and any public agency that has jurisdiction by law with
respect to the project, is notified regarding any early consultation.
(c) A responsible agency or other public agency shall only make substantive comments
regarding those activities involved in a project that are within an area of
expertise of the agency or that are required to be carried out or approved by
the agency. Those comments shall be supported by specific documentation.
§ 21154. Issuance of project order by state; effect
on impact report of local agency
Whenever any state agency, board, or commission issues an order which requires
a local agency to carry out a project which may have a significant effect on
the environment, any environmental impact report which the local agency may
prepare shall be limited to consideration of those factors and alternatives
which will not conflict with such order.