California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
The purpose of the CEQA unit is to ensure compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and to conduct CEQA reviews in the most effective and efficient manner possible. The CEQA Unit coordinates with DOGGR Programs, local jurisdictions, State and federal agencies, and the public, and also provides assistance to operators to avoid or reduce environmental impacts from the development of oil, gas, and geothermal resources in California.
CEQA requires State and local public agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions, and to avoid or mitigate those impacts where feasible. The purpose of CEQA is to:
- Inform decision-makers and the public about potential impacts to the environment
- Prevent or reduce environmental impacts
- Promote inter-agency cooperation
- Encourage public participation in the process
- Disclose agency decisions
CEQA applies to certain activities directly undertaken by a public agency, which is defined by CEQA as a "project" (see PRC §21065; CEQA Guidelines §15378). A project refers to the whole of an action, and includes any activity that meets
both of the following:
- Receives discretionary approval from a public agency, which requires the exercise of judgment or deliberation before a decision is made (e.g., authority to approve or deny issuance of a permit);
- Has the potential to cause either a direct physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.
DOGGR is required to comply with CEQA when it undertakes an activity or makes a discretionary decision during issuance of permits or approving projects.