The District assists project applicants and lead agencies to prepare environmental documents under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by providing air quality data and other needed information. Staff also reviews and comments on air quality sections of environmental documents. We also occasionally prepare air quality sections of environmental documents. District staff is available for consultation at any time in the project review process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is CEQA?
CEQA provides governmental decision makers and the public with information about the potential, significant environmental effects of proposed projects. Projects are classified as either discretionary or ministerial.
CEQA applies to all discretionary activities proposed to be carried out or approved by California public agencies, unless an exemption applies. When a public official in a governmental agency can use its judgment in deciding whether and how to carry out or approve a project, it is a discretionary project. If the public official of the governmental agency merely applies the law to the facts as presented, but uses little or no personal judgment, the project is ministerial, and exempt from CEQA.
The goals of CEQA are for California’s public agencies to identify the significant environmental effects of their actions; and, either avoid those significant environmental effects, where feasible; or mitigate those significant environmental effects, where feasible. By identifying and discussing all significant impacts, CEQA allows the project applicant to change the project to mitigate adverse effects; lead agencies to be provided the information necessary to impose conditions on the project to mitigate adverse effects; the public access to information about the effects of projects; and policy boards to receive important information for determining whether the project “protects the public health, safety and welfare.”
Where can I find out information about San Diego County's CEQA requirements?
The County of San Diego CEQA Guidelines document has more information on preparing CEQA documents.
What is CalEEMod?
CalEEMod (short for California Emissions Estimator Model) is a statewide computer emissions estimating model released in February 2011. CalEEMod calculates criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of land uses, including residential and commercial projects. An estimate of project emissions can be accomplished with just a few inputs from the user. The model quantifies direct emissions from construction and operation (including vehicle use), as well as indirect emissions, such as energy use, solid waste disposal, vegetation planting and/or removal, and water use. Further, the model identifies mitigation measures to reduce criteria pollutant and GHG emissions along with calculating the benefits achieved from measures chosen by the user. The GHG mitigation measures were recently developed and adopted by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA). District staff recommends use of the latest version of CalEEMod for estimating emissions from proposed land use development projects.
The California Environmental Quality Act statute and guidelines are available from the Governor's Office of Planning & Research website.
The District Guidelines document is available to download free of charge at:http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/pds/docs/CEQAGDLN.pdf
The latest version of CalEEMod is available at: http://www.caleemod.com
The California Air Pollution Control Officers Association website is: http://www.capcoa.org