Overview of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) - OCE


Participants in this introductory/intermediate-level two or three-day workshop will learn the key steps in complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA was the first of the “baby NEPA” laws that many states passed subsequent to NEPA’s passage in 1970, and is widely considered to be the strongest of all the state environmental impact assessment laws. It is also considered to be the state's most comprehensive environmental law, which influences virtually all prospective land use and public agency projects that are proposed in California. Learn how to clearly understand and comply with the CEQA Statute and Implementation Guidelines in this interactive workshop. 


Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Understand the key provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) statute and the CEQA Implementation Guidelines

  • Improve their implementation of the CEQA process

  • Clearly understand the scoping and public involvement requirements of CEQA

  • Integrate the legal requirements of CEQA into well-written and legally-compliant Initial Studies (IS) and Environmental Impact Reports (EIR)

  • Effectively design and implement mitigation and monitoring provisions

  • Understand and apply lessons from key CEQA court decisions, and understand the guiding legal standards of review used in review of CEQA court challenges including the “fair argument” and “substantial evidence” standards.


We tailor each workshop to meet the needs of the participants. The basic format of the interactive workshop includes the following components:

  • Background and implementation of the CEQA Statute and Implementation Regulations

  • The preliminary review process and scoping

  • Determination of the proper CEQA compliance pathway

  • The Initial Study and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process

  • Impacts analysis and mitigation

  • Integration of CEQA analyses with NEPA and other key federal, state and local laws (including those that regulate air, water, wetlands, threatened and endangered species, and historic/cultural resources)

  • The judicial review process and key CEQA case law

  • CEQA project management issues


Participants for this training generally include public agency staff, consultants, attorneys, developers, members of community and environmental organizations, and others involved or interested in the CEQA process. 


This is an interactive workshop designed to build an overall and complete understanding of the process for successfully complying with CEQA for proposed projects. For optimum learning, class size is limited to between 15 and 25 participants. This workshop consists of a carefully designed combination of the following:

  • 35% Lecture

  • 30% Discussion

  • 35% Exercises and Case Studies


Participants receive the following:

  • Presentation handouts

  • Student reference manual

  • Case study handouts