Butte County Air Quality Management District – 2014 CEQA Air Quality Handbook
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires public agencies to take responsibility for protecting the environment. The general public and responsible/commenting agencies such as the air district are provided an opportunity to review and submit comments pertaining to the project to the Lead Agency (typically the city or county planning agency, community development or services agency) prior to project approval by their governing board.
In regulating public or private projects, agencies are expected to avoid or minimize environmental damage especially impacts to the health of its citizens. The purpose of an environmental review is to identify the significant effects of a project on the environment, identify alternatives to the project, and indicate the manner in which significant impacts can be mitigated or avoided. To this end, the District developed its CEQA and Air Quality Handbook to serve as a resource to lead agencies in order to estimate project air pollutant emissions, identify a project’s air quality significant impacts, and select the best available practices or mitigation measures designed to avoid or reduce the air quality environmental impacts of transportation and land-use activities.
Throughout the Northern Sacramento Valley Air Basin the major contributor to air pollution is the motor vehicle. The CEQA Air Quality Handbook seeks to reduce emissions resulting from vehicular activity. This includes measures to reduce dependency on the automobile for mobility and mitigate the air quality impacts of new development. The mitigation measures in these guidelines encourage walking, bicycling, transit use and other alternative travel modes by making them more convenient and safe to use.
The Butte County Air District, as a Responsible/Concerned agency under CEQA, reviews proposed projects and provides comments to the lead agencies. Project review will include suggested mitigation measures from those listed in Section V and Appendix C of the CEQA Air Quality Handbook and from additional Responsible/Concerned Agency responses.
The lead agency will either accept or reject District recommendations. If accepted, the applicant shall initiate mitigation measures by Land Use Permit application. If the recommendations are rejected, the local land use authority must identify the basis for rejection.
Following a review of the final mitigation measures, the District may elect to appeal the final decision before the local land use authority (Public Resources Code §21167).