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Environmental Impact Assessment Reports

General Information

California requirements for assessing the environmental impact of projects date from 1970 with the enactment of the California Environmental Quality Act. CEQA requires that state and local agencies consider the environmental impact of their decisions when approving a public or private project. A flow chart of the California process is available.

As an initial step in the process an Initial Study may be prepared that determines whether an full environmental review is needed or just a Negative Declaration which indicates that there will be no adverse effects on the environment. If the initial report determines that there will be a significant impact a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is prepared and made available to the public and other agencies for review and comment. This is subsequently followed by a Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The final EIR does not supersede the draft EIR because the final version typically cites information included in the draft. The final step in the process is the filing of a Notice of Determination (NOD).

There are approximately 500 environmental impact reports (EIRs) prepared annually under the California Environmental Quality Act. Summary of Postings lists the number of CEQA reports by type that have been filed annually since 1999.

Guides to California Assessement Laws and Methodology

CEQA: the California Environmental Quality Act (CERES) is the official CEQA site that includes current CEQA statutes, legislative history, guidelines, case law, and other general reference material.

Other publications and web sites that contain information on California assessment laws and methology include:

  • California Environmental and Natural Resources Law Handbook (Monahan) 2004 (ref KFC 610 A45 C35) Guide to the statutes, regulations, court decisions, and agency policies that make up California's environmental regulatory schema. Includes section on CEQA.

  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Statute and Guidelines (Association of Environmental Professionals)

  • CEQA Deskbook: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (Bass, Herson, & Bogdan) 1999 (ref KFC 610 S83 1999)

  • CEQA and Environmental Assessment (California Office of Planning and Research) Contains an annotated bibliography of print and online sources on California environmental assessment.

  • CEQA Technical Advice Series (California Environmental Resources Information System) Provides CEQA practitioners at the local level with concise information about aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act, e.g., mitigated negative declarations.

  • Citizen's Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act (Yeates) 1997 (ref KFC 610 Y4 1997)

  • Environmental Impact Report (California Department of Transportation) Discusses the preparation and processing of an EIR in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Part of the the CalTrans Environmental Handbook series.

  • Everyday Heroes Protect the Air We Breathe, the Water We Drink, and Natural Areas We Prize: thirty-five years of the California Environmental Quality Act (Planning and Conservation League) 2005. Compilation of over 75 CEQA success stories.

  • Guide to CEQA: California Environmental Quality Act (Remy, Thomas, Moose, & Manley) 2007 (ref KFC 610 G85 2007)

  • State Clearinghouse Handbook (California Office of Planning and Research. State Clearinghouse) A technical guide for lead and responsible agencies, project proponents, and the public on clearinghouse procedures for preparing and reviewing environmental documents.

Finding California Environmental Impact Assessment Reports in the HSU Library

Most California environmental impact assessement reports available in the HSU Library are locally focused, are located in the Humboldt Room and are Library Use Only. In addition there are a few reports located in the California Documents Collection and in the general bookstacks. Of the 500 EIRs produced annually in California the HSU Library only acquires approximately seven reports each year.

The following options can be used to locate California enviromental impact assessement reports (draft and final environmental impact reports, initial studies, negative declarations and NODs) in the HSU Library:

  • Search the HSU Library Catalog. Almost all California environmental impact assessment reports available in the HSU Library are indexed in the catalog. There currently are 180 EIRs, 30 Initial Studies, and 20 Negative Declarations listed in the catalog. To search the catalog you can:
    • Use the Keyword search option to enter the keyword phrase for the type of assessment report you are looking , e.g., <"environmental impact report".
    • Use the Keyword search option to enter the keyword phrase for the type of assessment report you are looking for along with a subject keyword, e.g. entering <"environmental impact report" wastewater> will retrive all EIRs dealing with wastewater that are listed in the catalog.
    • Use the Subject search option to enter the phrase environmental aspects along with one of the subject headings listed in federal section above.
  • Consult the Index of Environmental Impact Reports Prepared in Humboldt County, CA (TD 194.5 I53 HumCo Collection). This work contains a comprehensive list of EIRs prepared in Humboldt County from 1970 to 1995 and lists local libraries and agencies that have copies available.
  • Look in the Humboldt County Pamphlet Collection in the Humboldt Room where some Negative Declarations are filed under Environmental Impact Reports - Negative Declarations.

Finding California Environmental Impact Assessment Reports In Other Libraries & on the Internet

The following sources can be used to identify environmental impact assessment reports produced under CEQA. If not available fulltext on the Internet they can be requested on Interlibrary Loan from other libraries which takes an average of nine calendar days to arrive.

  • CEQAnet Database (California Office of Planning and Research. State Clearinghouse) Contains key information for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documents submitted to the State Clearinghouse for state review since 1990. The database provides summaries of Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), Negative Declarations, Environmental Impact Statements, and other types of CEQA and NEPA documents. The summaries include the project title, project location, lead agency name, contact information, and project description. CEQAnet does not provide the full text of any environmental documents. The bimonthly State Clearinghouse Newsletter provides a listing of all environmental documents, federal notices, and federal grant applications that have been submitted to the State Clearinghouse.

  • Natural Resources - Agencies (HSU Library Special Collections - Humboldt Room) Includes links to local government agencies, some of whom include links to environmental assessment fulltextdocuments.

  • Public Notices (HSU Library Government Documents) Includes links to local and state environmental assessment fulltext documents.

  • WorldCat Indexes holdings of libraries in California and throughout the world. Enter 1) a keyword phrase for the type of assessment report you are looking for; 2) a subject keyword; and 3) California for the geographic area, e.g. entering <environmental impact report wastewater california> will retrive all EIRs dealing with wastewater in California that are listed in WorldCat.