The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).Section 21000 of the California Public Resources Code
Before making any decision to approve proposals, the Commission is required to determine whether the proposals significantly affect the environment.
If the proposal potentially affects the environment, an environmental initial study is required in order to consider the proposal's effects. Should the initial study determine that the proposal would not have an adverse impact; a “negative declaration” would be submitted for public review prior to action on a proposal. If the potential environmental impacts appear to be substantial and unmitigatable, the project may need to have an environmental impact report (EIR) prepared.
Some proposals are exempt from CEQA; however, alternate forms of an environmental determination (including exemptions) must be included in the public record of the Commission’s proceedings.