Legal Resources | | T14 15096
Chapter 3. Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act Article 7. EIR Process Process for a Responsible Agency.
(a) General. A responsible agency complies with CEQA by considering the EIR or negative declaration prepared by the lead agency and by reaching its own conclusions on whether and how to approve the project involved. This section identifies the special duties a public agency will have when acting as a responsible agency.
(b) Response to Consultation. A responsible agency shall respond to consultation by the lead agency in order to assist the lead agency in preparing adequate environmental documents for the project. By this means, the responsible agency will ensure that the documents it will use will comply with CEQA.
(1) In response to consultation, a responsible agency shall explain its reasons for recommending whether the lead agency should prepare an EIR or negative declaration for a project. Where the responsible agency disagrees with the lead agency's proposal to prepare a negative declaration for a project, the responsible agency should identify the significant environmental effects which it believes could result from the project and recommend either that an EIR be prepared or that the project be modified to eliminate the significant effects.
(2) As soon as possible, but not longer than 30 days after receiving a notice of preparation from the lead agency, the responsible agency shall send a written reply by certified mail or any other method which provides the agency with a record showing that the notice was received. The reply shall specify the scope and content of the environmental information which would be germane to the responsible agency's statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed project. The lead agency shall include this information in the EIR.
(c) Meetings. The responsible agency shall designate employees or representatives to attend meetings requested by the lead agency to discuss the scope and content of the EIR.
(d) Comments on Draft EIRs and Negative Declarations. A responsible agency should review and comment on draft EIRs and negative declarations for projects which the responsible agency would later be asked to approve. Comments should focus on any shortcomings in the EIR, the appropriateness of using a negative declaration, or on additional alternatives or mitigation measures which the EIR should include. The comments shall be limited to those project activities which are within the agency's area of expertise or which are required to be carried out or approved by the agency or which will be subject to the exercise of powers by the agency. Comments shall be as specific as possible and supported by either oral or written documentation.
(e) Decision on Adequacy of EIR or Negative Declaration. If a responsible agency believes that the final EIR or negative declaration prepared by the lead agency is not adequate for use by the responsible agency, the responsible agency must either:
(1) Take the issue to court within 30 days after the lead agency files a notice of determination;
(2) Be deemed to have waived any objection to the adequacy of the EIR or negative declaration;
(3) Prepare a subsequent EIR if permissible under Section 15162; or
(4) Assume the lead agency role as provided in Section 15052(a)(3).
(f) Consider the EIR or Negative Declaration. Prior to reaching a decision on the project, the responsible agency must consider the environmental effects of the project as shown in the EIR or negative declaration. A subsequent or supplemental EIR can be prepared only as provided in Sections 15162 or 15163.
(g) Adoption of Alternatives or Mitigation Measures.
(1) When considering alternatives and mitigation measures, a responsible agency is more limited than a lead agency. A responsible agency has responsibility for mitigating or avoiding only the direct or indirect environmental effects of those parts of the project which it decides to carry out, finance, or approve.
(2) When an EIR has been prepared for a project, the Responsible Agency shall not approve the project as proposed if the agency finds any feasible alternative or feasible mitigation measures within its powers that would substantially lessen or avoid any significant effect the project would have on the environment. With respect to a project which includes housing development, the responsible agency shall not reduce the proposed number of housing units as a mitigation measure if it determines that there is another feasible specific mitigation measure available that will provide a comparable level of mitigation.
(h) Findings. The responsible agency shall make the findings required by Section 15091 for each significant effect of the project and shall make the findings in Section 15093 if necessary.
(i) Notice of Determination. The responsible agency should file a notice of determination in the same manner as a lead agency under Section 15075 or 15094 except that the responsible agency does not need to state that the EIR or negative declaration complies with CEQA. The responsible agency should state that it considered the EIR or negative declaration as prepared by a lead agency.
Public Resources Code 21083
Public Resources Code 21165
Public Resources Code 21080.1
Public Resources Code 21080.3
Public Resources Code 21080.4
Public Resources Code 21082.1
Public Resources Code 21002.1(b)
Public Resources Code 21002.1(d)
(Amended by Register 2005, No. 40.)