CEQA Document Submission

Please see guidance and information below regarding CEQA and COVID-19. Any future updates will be posted on OPR’s website. Additionally, please email us at state.clearinghouse@opr.ca.gov if you would like to discuss any statutory or regulatory compliance issues that you are experiencing related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Deadlines, Noticing, and Filing Requirements

Pursuant to Executive Order N-80-20, signed on September 23, 2020, certain requirements for filing, noticing, and posting of CEQA documents with county clerk offices have been conditionally suspended and alternate requirements must be taken in lieu of those requirements. Please note, however, that public agencies or project applicants who are able to comply with CEQA’s existing requirements for public filing, notice, and public access (and therefore need not avail themselves of the condition suspension in the Order) may do so without further satisfying the conditions in the Order and described below.

According to Executive Order N-80-20, the following public notices are not required to be filed, posted, and made publicly available at the relevant county clerk’s office, despite CEQA’s requirements, if an appropriate alternative is provided (as discussed below):

  • Posting of notices of preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR) or negative declaration required by Public Resources Code section 21080.4 and 21092 (Pub. Resources Code, § 21092.3)
  • Filing and posting of notices of determination (Pub. Resources Code, § 21152)
  • Filing, posting, and making copies available for public inspection notices of exemption, if those notices are filed at all (CEQA Guidelines, § 15062(c)(2), (c)(4))
  • Posting notices of intent to adopt negative declarations or mitigated negative declarations (CEQA Guidelines, § 15072(d))
  • Filing, posting, and making available for public inspection notices of determination for negative declarations or mitigated negative declarations (CEQA Guidelines, § 15075(a), (d), (e))
  • Posting of notices of availability of draft EIRs (CEQA Guidelines, § 15087(d))
  • Posting of notices of determination (CEQA Guidelines, § 15094(a), (d), (e))

A lead agency, responsible agency, or project applicant that complies with all of the following conditions shall deemed to have fully satisfied the above-listed CEQA requirements on public filing, posting, notice, and public access:

  • Post the notices listed above on the lead or responsible agency’s website for the same length of time that would be required for physical posting,
  • Submit all notices listed above to the State Clearinghouse’s CEQAnet web portal, and
  • With exception to the provisions that have been suspended, lead and responsible agencies and project applicants must perform public noticing and outreach to all interested parties as allowed and required by CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines; for example, as required by CEQA Guidelines section 15087(a), agencies and applicants must continue to give notice to all entities who have requested notice.

Lead and responsible agencies and project applicants are encouraged to use any other available and appropriate methods to provide public notice. This may have included notification by e-mail and telephone of proposed projects to community organizations, among other methods.

The Executive Order remains in effect until it is modified or rescinded, or until the State of Emergency is terminated, whichever occurs sooner. The Executive Order does not suspend CEQA’s requirements in their entirety for public filing, notice, posting, and public access; rather, the Order provides an alternate means of complying with those requirements in light of the current pandemic.

Deadlines for public review and comment periods for CEQA documents, such as for draft EIRs and negative declarations, were not suspended and those deadlines remained unchanged. CEQA establishes a floor and not a ceiling for public review and comment periods. Lead and responsible agencies may use their discretion to extend such time periods to allow for additional public review and comments.

Any filing fees required by Fish & Game Code section 711.4 and submitted with notices of determination at the county clerk’s office must still have been paid to that office. OPR recommended that when submitting notices to the CEQAnet web portal, public agencies or project applicants also have submitted a signed letter (which can be signed by the lead or responsible agency or project applicant) stating they have submitted proper payment of the required Fish & Game Code fees or a copy of a receipt from a county clerk’s office.

Please note that the State Clearinghouse is still operating every weekday from 9 am to 4 pm. Clearinghouse staff can be reached via phone at 916-445-0613 or via email at state.clearinghouse@opr.ca.gov if you have any questions.

How to File Environmental Documents

Office of Planning and Research (OPR), State Clearinghouse (SCH) Unit is announcing the discontinuance in accepting hard copies of environmental documents and notices of determinations and exemptions starting on November 3rd, 2020. Email method of notices of exemptions and determinations to the state.clearinghouse@opr.ca.gov will also no longer be accepted as of that date All agencies are required to submit online to the CEQA Database, where your CEQA notices and documents will be filed and posted.

To be registered to submit CEQA documents online, please see Register to Submit CEQA Documents. ceqasubmit.opr.ca.gov

For more information, please refer to the User Guide.

Deliver Environmental Documents

Mail / Hand Deliveries
State Clearinghouse
1400 Tenth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
PO Box
NO longer accepting mail to the 3044 P.O. Box

Office and Delivery Hours

Monday–Friday (excluding holidays) 9:00a.m.–4:00p.m.

Filing Deadlines

Public Resources Code Section 21091(c)(3) allows for “three working days from the date of receipt” for the SCH to start the state review period and distribute the draft documents to state agencies for review and comment. In general, physical complete documents that arrive by 12:00 PM on a working day will begin state review on that day; documents that arrive after 12:00 PM will begin review the following working day.

Starting on November 3, 2020, submit online to CEQAnet.

For same day review period and posting, submit environmental documents by 3:30 PM and notices of determination (NOD) and exemption (NOE) by 4:00 PM. Environmental documents and NOD/NOE submitted before these cutoff times will begin review and post that day. Note All documents submitted before cut-off times will be made available online that day, regardless of review period start.

The SCH will not apply a SCH Date Stamp to attachments submitted online, as this replaces the SCH Date Stamp. For date verification, refer to received, review period start or posted dates.

Review Periods: Must not start or end, on weekends and/or holidays.

Questions? Please call the SCH at (916) 445-0613
Email: state.clearinghouse@opr.ca.gov

Summary of Document Submission Requirements

As of March 8, 2019: Documents filed with the State Clearinghouse may have the environmental document(s) and/or notice(s) available on: ceqanet.opr.ca.gov.

Disclaimer: Documents prior to March 8, 2019, may only have summarized information. Note that the documents on CEQAnet have been posted in the manner they were received. If you need assistance accessing content in an alternate format, please email us at accessibility@opr.ca.gov. You may also contact us via phone at (916) 445-0613.

Contact the SCH on requirements of environmental documents submission.

Requirements

To File with OPR:

Starting November 3, 2020 below will no longer be accepted.

15 CDs or Thumb Drives, what must be on the electronic files (**NOTE ALL FILES that are PDF must be Text Recognized (OCR) at High Resolution of 300 or 400 DPI)):
  • Notice of Completion Transmittal Form (NOC)
  • Notice of Availability (NOA)/ Notice of Intent (NOI)
  • Draft EIR/MND/ND/OTHER
  • Initial Study
  • Appendices/maps (if applicable)
  • OPR’s Summary Form

*note: each file should be named accordingly as to describe briefly of what those files are

1 Hard Copy of:
  • NOC
  • OPR’s summary form (in lieu of having 15 hard copies of the 2 page summary or executive summary of a EIR)
Note
To prevent delays and to ensure accurate entry in CEQAnet, include an NOC with all ND/MNDs, NOPs, EAs, EISs, NOIs, and Tribal Compact Environmental Evaluations
Requirements

OPR is responsible for implementing Presidential Executive Order (EO) 12372. This EO requires federal agencies to use state and local process for intergovernmental coordination. OPR is available to assist federal agencies with review of NEPA documents and associated intergovernmental coordination.

CEQA allows for use of NEPA documents in place of CEQA documents. Submission through OPR is required to use those provisions. See CEQA Guidelines:15225 Section 2.

Recommendations

To File with OPR:

Starting November 3, 2020 below will no longer be accepted.

15 CDs or Thumb Drives, what must be on the electronic files (**NOTE ALL FILES that are PDF must be Text Recognized (OCR) at High Resolution of 300 or 400 DPI)):
  • Notice of Completion Transmittal Form (NOC)
  • Notice of Availability (NOA)/ Notice of Intent (NOI)
  • Draft EIR/MND/ND/OTHER
  • Initial Study
  • Appendices/maps (if applicable)
  • OPR’s Summary Form

*note: each file should be named accordingly as to describe briefly of what those files are

1 Hard Copy of:
  • NOC
  • OPR’s summary form (in lieu of having 15 hard copies of the 2 page summary or executive summary of a EIR)
Advisory

Deliver between 9AM-12PM

Collate and bind

Download
Notice of Completion (NOC)  
Requirements

One copy with EIRs

For walk-in deliveries bring two copies to date stamp.

Advisory

To prevent delays and to ensure accurate entry in CEQAnet  , include an NOC with all ND/MNDs, NOPs, EAs, EISs, NOIs, and Tribal Compact Environmental Evaluations.

Download
Notice of Determination (NOD)  
Requirements

One copy
State agencies: Pay fees or show proof of payment

Local agencies: Pay fees to County Clerks Certified Regulatory Programs

Options for Delivery
Download
Notice of Exemption (NOE)  
Requirements

One copy

Options for Delivery
Download
Notice of Preparation (NOP)  
Requirements

One copy

Recommendations

Refer to Environmental Document(s) Requirements

Advisory
Download
Shortened Review Request  
Requirements

Prior approval from responsible/trustee agencies

Recommendations

Contact the SCH prior to requesting.

Recommendations

Refer to CEQA Guidelines 15044.

Advisory

Email the SCH
Note: Do Not send a hard copy Follow-up.

Closing Letters

Currently, an intermission is in place of acknowledgements to the close of review period on your CEQA environmental document. During this phase, comments submitted by State Agencies at the close of review period (and after) are available on CEQAnet.

  • Please visit CEQAnet Advanced Search
  • Filter for the SCH# of your project OR your “Lead Agency”
  • If filtering by “Lead Agency”, select the correct project
  • Only State Agency comments will be available in the “attachments” section: bold and highlighted
Requirements

Finals are not required.

Recommendations

Forms

  • Informs reviewers that a Draft EIR is complete (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15085). One copy of the NOC must accompany the required 15 copies of the EIR submitted to OPR. We highly recommend completing this document for all Mitigated/Negative Declarations (ND/MND), Notices of Preparation (NOP), Notices of Intent, Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements, Early Consultations, and Tribal Compact Environmental Evaluations for accurate indexing in the CEQAnet Database  .

  • Lead and responsible agencies are required to notify OPR and/or the county clerk when they make a determination to approve a project subject to CEQA (CEQA Guidelines, Sections 15075 and 15094). There are fees associated with this form so please review the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife web site  .

  • Informs OPR and/or the county clerk that the lead agency has determined that a project is exempt from CEQA review (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15062).

  • Informs reviewers of the lead agency’s intent to prepare an EIR (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15082). We recommend that 1) a Notice of Completion Form accompany the NOP for accurate indexing in the CEQAnet database   ; and, 2) lead agencies send 15 hardcopies of any attachments, initial studies, maps, or any other documentation describing the project.

  • 1 copy of this document should be included when a Lead Agency submits 15 CD/USBs copies of EIRs, ND/MNDs, or NOPs to the SCH. The SCH will still accept other summaries, such as an EIR executive summary prepared pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15123, attached to the electronic copies of the document. Required with online submission.

  • Under certain circumstances, a shortened review may be granted (refer to Public Resources Code Section 21091, CEQA Guidelines Section 15105 and Appendix K of the CEQA Guidelines).

  • CEQA Appendix G/Initial Study Checklist

    Updated Appendix G to include AB 52 Tribal Consultation changes approved by the Office of Administrative Law on September 27, 2016.

  • For permits related to cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, or other commercial activity, CEQA review is typically done at the local level first, as part of a city or county’s local review process for a discretionary permit. Evidence of this local CEQA compliance is then submitted to the relevant state licensing authority as part of the license application. Please see the regulations of the relevant state licensing authority for information about the CEQA review process that authority conducts when considering a license application.

Certified Regulatory Programs (CRP)

Submission of Notice of Decisions and Payment of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fees

State agencies and departments are required to submit Notice of Decisions for projects approved under a CRP to the Office of the Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency. Environmental filing fees for CRP’s must be paid directly to the DFG. Below are the addresses for the filing of the Notice of Decision and for the payment of filing fees for projects that fall under Certified Regulatory Programs only.

Send Notice of Decisions for CRP’s to:

California Natural Resources Agency
Office of Assistant General Counsel
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814

Send Checks for CRP projects to Fish and Wildlife to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Accounting Services Branch
ATTN: Cash Receipts
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, California 94244-2090
(916) 653-9873