Environmental review is the process of analyzing the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project, program, or activity. The Authority is a Lead Agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and uses the CEQA review process as its primary environmental review mechanism for the analysis of proposed projects. Issues addressed during the CEQA review process include, but are not limited to, water supply and quality, hazardous materials, utilities and service systems, biological resources, cultural resources, aesthetics, air pollution, and transportation. The CEQA review process also helps identify mechanisms needed to comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations, such as the federal Clean Water Act and the California Fish and Game Code, among others. Projects subject to federal approval or funding are also subject to the National Environmental Policy Act where a federal agency acts as the Lead Agency.
Some of the intended goals of the CEQA process are disclosing to decision makers and the public the potential impacts to the environment from proposed projects and developing strategies to avoid, minimize, or mitigate these impacts. As a Lead Agency under CEQA, the Authority develops carefully planned projects and solicits input from various individuals or groups through the environmental review process. These include the general public, local, state, and federal jurisdictional agencies, Native American Tribes, as well as community planning and special interest groups. Once an environmental review is complete, the Authority’s decision-making body decides whether or not the proposed project should be approved and move forward.