What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)? When is one required?

When an Initial Study indicates that a project has the potential to "significantly" impact the environment, CEQA requires that an EIR be prepared. An EIR is an informational document to be used by the decision-makers when making a decision about a project. CEQA does not require technical perfection in an EIR, but rather adequacy, completeness, and a good faith effort at full disclosure. In an EIR, significant environmental impacts (also called effects) are identified; methods (mitigation measures) for reducing or avoiding impacts are identified, and project alternatives are developed which seek to reduce or avoid environmental impacts.

  • As part of the EIR process, the public provides input during the scoping process; this part of the process hones which environmental impacts will be studied and what type of environmental document will be needed.
  • Once the Draft EIR document is circulated, and a formal comment period begins allowing agencies and the public to comment on the adequacy of the EIR, as outlined in the CEQA Guidelines. All received comments during the Draft EIR public comment are responded to in what is called a Final EIR.

Show All Answers

1. What is the California Environmental Quality Act and what is its purpose?
2. Why is CEQA important?
3. How does CEQA work?
4. What is considered a project under CEQA?
5. Does every project require CEQA review?
6. What is an exemption?
7. What is an Initial Study?
8. What is a Significant Impact? How do you decide whether an impact is significant?
9. What is a mitigation measure?
10. What is a Negative Declaration or a Mitigated Negative Declaration?
11. What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)? When is one required?
12. What happens after the environmental document is finished?
13. Is a public hearing required?
14. How to citizens get involved? What are the public notice requirements?