​​California Environmental Quality Act

​​​​​​​​​The Geysers geothermal field in Lake, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties

The CEQA unit in the Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM,  formerly DOGGR) works 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 CalGEM programs, all levels of government, and the public. Staff also help operators mitigate environmental impacts from the development of oil, gas, and geothermal resources. This is in alignment with CalGEM's mission to safeguard t​he environment, protect health, and advance climate and energy goals. 

CEQA requires state and local public agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions, and to avoid or mitigate those impacts where possible. CEQA
serves 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 public agency decisions

CEQA applies to certain activities, defined as a "project" (Public Resources Code §21065; CEQA Guidelines §15378) that are undertaken by a public agency such as CalGEM in the Department of Conservation. A project refers to the whole of an action, and includes any activity that meets both of the following:

Pumpjack and Sunflowers
  1. ​​Receives discretionary approval from a public agency, which requires the exercise of judgment or deliberation before a decision is made (for example, authority to approve or deny issuance of a permit); and
  2. Has the potential to cause either a direct physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.

CalGEM is required to comply with CEQA when it undertakes an activity or makes a discretionary decision during issuance of permits or approving projects.

 

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