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Chapter 3. Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act Article 2. General Responsibilities Duty to Minimize Environmental Damage and Balance Competing Public Objectives.   

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(a) CEQA establishes a duty for public agencies to avoid or minimize environmental damage where feasible.

(1) In regulating public or private activities, agencies are required to give major consideration to preventing environmental damage.

(2) A public agency should not approve a project as proposed if there are feasible alternatives or mitigation measures available that would substantially lessen any significant effects that the project would have on the environment.

(b) In deciding whether changes in a project are feasible, an agency may consider specific economic, environmental, legal, social, and technological factors.

(c) The duty to prevent or minimize environmental damage is implemented through the findings required by Section 15091.

(d) CEQA recognizes that in determining whether and how a project should be approved, a public agency has an obligation to balance a variety of public objectives, including economic, environmental, and social factors and in particular the goal of providing a decent home and satisfying living environment for every Californian. An agency shall prepare a statement of overriding considerations as described in Section 15093 to reflect the ultimate balancing of competing public objectives when the agency decides to approve a project that will cause one or more significant effects on the environment.

Authority cited:

Public Resources Code 21083


Public Resources Code 21000

Public Resources Code 21001

Public Resources Code 21002

Public Resources Code 21002.1

Public Resources Code 21081

San Francisco Ecology Center v. City and County of San Francisco, (1975) 48 Cal. App. 3d 584

Laurel Hills Homeowners Association v. City Council, (1978) 83 Cal. App. 3d 515.

(Amended by Register 2005, No. 40.)