California Environmental Quality Act


California Environmental Quality Act

Environmental planning is essential for a sustainable future. At SCAG, environmental planning involves establishing programs and policies that encourage environmentally conscious transportation and land use patterns that protect the region’s environmental resources. SCAG’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Program focuses on preparing environmental documentation to ensure regulatory compliance with applicable environmental laws for all of SCAG’s plans and programs.

Most notably, SCAG serves as the lead agency responsible for preparing the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Plan (RTP/SCS) Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) and addenda, and ensures completion of environmental documentation, such as Categorical Exemptions, for SCAG’s existing programs. Staff works closely with local and regional agencies and stakeholders and conducts consultation and public outreach during the preparation of environmental documentation.

The CEQA program also monitors changes in environmental compliance requirements, and provides tools and services related to CEQA and CEQA streamlining efforts, such as SB 375 and SB 743, to support local jurisdictions in taking advantage of existing CEQA streamlining opportunities and to provide a forum for regional dialogue on important environmental related topics.

Connect SoCal PEIR

Every four years, SCAG prepares a PEIR for the RTP/SCS in accordance with CEQA. The PEIR serves as a programmatic document that conducts a region-wide assessment of potential significant environmental effects of the RTP/SCS.

Please follow the links to find out more information about the Connect SoCal 2020 PEIR, PEIR Addendum #1, PEIR Addendum #2, PEIR Addendum #3, and previous PEIRs.

Learn more about the PEIR for the upcoming RTP/SCS, referred to as Connect SoCal 2024 PEIR here.

CEQA Streamlining Efforts

CEQA has provisions and tools that streamline the environmental review process for qualifying housing projects. These are often narrow, include many exceptions, and can be confusing for both local jurisdictions and developers. Although SCAG has no land-use authority and does not implement nor approve housing developments, Connect SoCal does provide pathways to streamline CEQA review for housing developments that qualify as Transit Priority Projects (TPPs) or Residential/Mixed-Use Projects (as defined in SB 375). Furthermore, SB 743 and SB 226 provide additional CEQA streamlining provisions for certain projects (e.g., projects in transit priority areas and infill development projects).

Development Streamlining Guidance Materials 

In response to the results from the Development Streamlining Questionnaire, and as part of our efforts to accelerate housing production, SCAG has prepared a series of guidance materials. The guidance material topics were carefully selected based on feedback and include a combination of streamlining options or exemptions under CEQA and other state laws. To view and learn more about the guidance materials, please visit the Development Streamlining Efforts page.

SCAG will also be hosting a series of virtual workshops and office hours to review these guidance materials in Spring 2023. These workshops are an opportunity to stay involved and share your thoughts and questions on the materials. Details regarding these events will be posted soon.

For further questions or comments regarding the ongoing Development Streamlining Efforts, please contact Nashia Lalani at or 213-630-1477.

Submit CEQA Notices 

CEQA Section 15206 defines projects of statewide, regional, or areawide significance and instructs public agencies to submit environmental documents, including Negative Declarations and Draft Environmental Impact Reports (DEIRs), to the State Clearinghouse and the appropriate metropolitan area council of governments for review and comment.  

SCAG encourages local agencies to submit CEQA notices to the IGR Program via the IGR Submissions webpage.

To learn more about the IGR Program, please visit the IGR webpage.

Useful Resources

Site Check 

Site Check is a free, online, interactive tool, funded by the California Housing and Community Development Department as part of the technical assistance for Senate Bill 2, the Building Homes and Jobs Act, which may be used to identify streamlining options under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that may apply to facilitate planning decisions that accelerate the production of housing in California.

Users can search and filter parcels to determine whether they meet certain requirements in specific CEQA provisions for a variety of housing types. Site Check will provide a downloadable report which will identify the accelerated pathways to CEQA compliance that may apply based on the parcel(s) selected, providing a helpful starting point and guide users to the appropriate provisions within CEQA.

Please visit the following link for further information and access to the tool: 

Questions? Contact Us!

CEQA Program

Lijin Sun 
(213) 236-1804

Connect SoCal 2024 PEIR  

Karen Calderon 
(213) 236-1983 

Please send specific questions on Connect SoCal 2024 PEIR to: 

Intergovernmental Review 

Annaleigh Ekman 
(213) 630-1427 

Submit CEQA Notices to IGR: