The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was adopted in 1970 and incorporated in the Public Resources Code §§21000-21177. The basic purposes of CEQA are to:
1. Inform governmental decision makers and the public about the potential significant environmental effects of proposed activities;
2. Identify ways that environmental damage can be avoided or significantly reduced;
3. Require changes in projects through the use of alternatives or mitigation measures when feasible;
4. Disclose to the public the reasons why a project was approved if significant environmental effects are involved;
5. Encourage early coordination among agencies in reviewing projects; and,
6. Provide better opportunity for public participation.
The analysis of a project required by CEQA usually takes the form of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Negative Declaration (ND), or Environmental Assessment (EA).