OPR Technical Advisories
OPR develops technical advice from time to time on issues that broadly affect CEQA practice and land use planning. This page provides links to OPR’s Technical Advisories addressing unique environmental issues in CEQA practice, specific types of CEQA documents, as well as procedures and forms commonly used in CEQA practice. Refer to OPR’s entire list of Technical Advisories covering both CEQA and land use planning issues.
Technical Advisories on Substantive CEQA Issues
The following is a collection of OPR’s Technical Advisories that provide advice regarding unique environmental issues that may arise in CEQA documents.
Addressing Naturally Occurring Asbestos in CEQA Documents
This advisory memorandum provides guidance on analyzing the impacts of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) on the environment through the CEQA review process.
CEQA and Climate Change Technical Advisory
OPR, in collaboration with the California Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, developed a technical advisory containing informal guidance for public agencies as they address the issue of climate change in their CEQA documents. This technical advisory provides OPR's perspective on the issue as applicable in 2008 and precedes the development of draft implementing regulations for CEQA, in accordance with Senate Bill 97 (Chapter 185, Statutes of 2007).
CEQA and Low Impact Development Storm Water Design
Low Impact Development stormwater design (LID) is widely promoted and applied at the federal, state and local levels as a technique to address impacts of land development on surface water quality and hydrology. This technical advisory provides general information about LID and guidance to public agencies regarding the incorporation of water-quality control measures—including LID—as a potential CEQA mitigation strategy early in project design and review.
SB 375 CEQA Provisions, Introduction and Charts
OPR, working with the Climate Action Team's Climate Change, Land Use, and Infrastructure Group (CCLU-In) developed the "Introduction and Charts" to assist state, regional, and local governments in understanding CEQA provisions enacted by Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg 2008) (SB 375). These charts are meant to provide assistance in understanding SB 375's new CEQA options, and should not be considered legal advice.
Climate Action Planning
OPR is currently developing a Technical Advisory to address CEQA requirements related to climate action planning. Once available, a draft will be posted here. While that Technical Advisory is under development, readers may be interested in a presentation that OPR provided during its June 20, 2011, Local Government Roundtable regarding climate action planning, as well as questions and responses associated with that presentation.
Technical Advisories on Specific Types of Environmental Documents
The following is a collection of OPR’s Technical Advisories that provide advice regarding the use of specific types of environmental documents under CEQA.
Focusing on Master EIRs
This Technical Advisory provides an overview of the Master EIR and its relatives. It outlines the process of preparing and utilizing a Master EIR while highlighting the statutory nuances for the CEQA practitioner.
Mitigated Negative Declarations
This publication discusses the requirements for preparing a Mitigated Negative Declaration and its necessary contents according to CEQA. Legislative changes and court decisions are included to illustrate the circumstances under which a Mitigated Negative Declaration may be properly used.
Technical Advisories and Forms Addressing Procedural Matters Under CEQA
The following is a collection of OPR’s Technical Advisories and published forms addressing various steps in the CEQA process.
Circulation and Notice Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
This publication outlines the required and suggested notice, consultation and review periods promulgated by CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines.
Filing of Notices of Determination with the State Clearinghouse (SCH)
CEQA Guidelines identify the specific circumstances under which Lead Agencies must submit their draft Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), proposed Negative Declarations (ND), and Notices of Determination (NOD) to the SCH.
How to File a Notice of Determination (NOD) and Notice of Exemption (NOE)
CEQA requires lead agencies to file a NOD upon approval of a project for which an EIR or ND has been prepared. In addition, CEQA describes procedures for filing of a NOE upon approval of a project that is exempt from CEQA review.
Location Maps Required for State Agencies' Review
CEQA Guidelines requires the submittal of a suitable map along with the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for an EIR under Section 15082 (a) (1) (b), and in the Draft EIR itself, under Section 15124 (a).
Notice of Completion (NOC)
Lead agencies are required to notify OPR as soon as a Draft EIR is complete. If state review is required, the NOC must accompany the required 15 copies of the EIR submitted to OPR. CEQA Guidelines, Section 15085 discusses the requirement.
Notice of Determination (NOD)
Lead and responsible agencies are required to notify OPR and/or the county clerk when they make a determination to approve a project subject to CEQA. CEQA Guidelines, Sections 15075 and 15094 outline the content requirements.
Notice of Exemption (NOE)
CEQA exempts from environmental review certain classes of projects specified in the CEQA statute or Guidelines. This notice informs OPR and/or the county clerk that the lead agency has determined that a project is exempt from CEQA review. CEQA Guidelines, Section 15062 discusses the content requirements.
Notice of Preparation (NOP)
This notice informs the public of the intent of the lead agency to prepare an EIR. CEQA Guidelines, Section 15082 discusses the required contents.
Requirements for Notices of Preparation (NOP)
Effective January 1, 2001, two requirements were added to CEQA as a result of the passage of AB 1807. Any public agency acting as a "lead agency" under CEQA must provide a copy of all NOPs to OPR.
Requirements for Document Submittal to the SCH
This advisory memorandum provides clarification to Lead Agencies regarding the requirements of AB 3041 for submitting CEQA environmental documents to the SCH for state level review.
Sample Summary Electronic Submittal Fillable Form
Lead agencies may include 15 hardcopies of this document when submitting electronic copies of Environmental Impact Reports, Negative Declarations, Mitigated Negative Declarations, or Notices of Preparation to the State Clearinghouse (SCH). The SCH also accepts other summaries, such as EIR Executive Summaries prepared pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15123. Please include one copy of the Notice of Completion Form (NOC) with your submission and attach the summary to each electronic copy of the document.
Shortened Review Request Form
Public Resources Code Section 21091 allows for shortened review periods under certain circumstances. Additional information on the shortened review process and requirements is provided in the SCH Handbook. The Shortened Review Request is available to ensure that the requesting agency provides all the information necessary for the SCH to make a determination. However, use of this specific form is not a requirement of CEQA.
State Clearinghouse Handbook
The SCH Handbook is a technical guide for lead and responsible agencies, project proponents, and the public on SCH procedures for reviewing environmental documents.
Submitting CEQA Documents to the State Clearinghouse
This technical advisory offers information about the procedural requirements of CEQA. Included is a brief summary of the circumstances under which CEQA documents must be submitted to the SCH as well as information on identifying and working with Responsible and Trustee Agencies.
NEPA and CEQA: Integrating Federal and State Environmental Reviews Handbook
The White House Council on Environmental Quality and the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) have jointly prepared the handbook “NEPA and CEQA: Integrating Federal and State Environmental Reviews.” The handbook provides practitioners with an overview of NEPA and CEQA as well as suggestions for developing a single environmental review process that can meet the requirements of both statutes. The handbook also provides a framework for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between two or more agencies entering into a joint NEPA/ CEQA review process, and addresses the California Energy Commission (CEC) licensing process, which takes the place of the CEQA process for certain power plants. The Handbook and cover letter accompanying the handbook can be found here Cover Letter and Handbook.