State Clearinghouse Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions on CEQA and State Clearinghouse processes
The SCH no longer accepts hardcopies or emails of filings of CEQA documents as of November 3, 2020. You must register to file on our new online CEQA Database. The SCH will return emails and hard copies and inform the submitter that they must file online.
The SCH requires all documents to have Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for publication.
Additionally, State and federal agencies must comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act for documents posted and made available on internet websites. Local agencies must comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act for documents posted and made available on internet websites. Check with your agency’s legal counsel to see the specific requirements.
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) accepts no responsibility for the content or accessibility of documents being uploaded to the CEQA database. For more information, please visit OPR’s Accessibility page.
The NOD form and Addendum or Final of the certified/approved draft environmental document. State agencies have the option to include a NOD form, but local agencies must include a NOD form at minimum.
Once a lead State agency is ready to file a Notice of Determination (NOD) that requires CDFW CEQA fees, they should send a check to the SCH, made out to CDFW, and submit the NOD online through the CEQA Database. The SCH must receive payment to publish the NOD submission.
Checks can be dropped off at our office between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or sent via mail at:
1400 Tenth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Confirm current fees are due by visiting CDFW website.
The SCH is not authorized to determine/approve your CEQA document. 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 related to cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, or other commercial activity. Evidence of this local CEQA compliance is then submitted to the relevant state licensing authority as part of the license application. For additional information on the regulations of the relevant state licensing authority about the CEQA review process can be found at the Department of Canabis Control's website.
We are no longer accepting mailed in applications.
The General Plan APR submitted to OPR should outline the status of the General Plan and progress in its implementation over the previous year’s 12-month reporting period. It can be submitted to OPR electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on submitting both annual progress reports, please refer to OPR’s Annual Progress Report Guidance Memo.
All jurisdictions are required to provide OPR and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) with separate General Plan and Housing Element Annual Progress Reports (APRs) by April 1 each year, per Government Code Sections 65400 and 65700.
If you can log into CEQA Submit successfully with your work email, then you are already registered. If you need to register, follow the instructions on the CEQA Database Registration form.
SCH staff will respond to registration requests made during business hours by the end of the day. You will receive a confirmation email upon your registration.
If you are the Lead Agency (government entity), you can choose the Admin OR Submitter role (one or the other). The State Clearinghouse must approve this role for you.
If you are the consulting firm, you can only choose the Submitter role (for each Lead Agency). The Lead Agency Admin must approve this role for you.
If you are the Responsible Agency (government entity), you can only choose the Submitter role (for each Lead Agency). Either the State Clearinghouse or the Lead Agency Admin can approve this role for you.
See the CEQA Database Registration form for more details.
- Admin Capabilities:
Approve a consultant from a consulting firm’s or staff from within the Lead Agency’s “Submitter” role requests to submit CEQA documents on behalf of the Lead Agency. (Note that all consultants and staff members must be registered users.)
Submit a CEQA document on behalf of their agency
- Submitter Capabilities:
Submit a CEQA document on behalf of a Lead Agency or as a Responsible Agency
To learn more about the registered user roles, refer to page 15 of the CEQA Database User Guide.
This usually happens if a Consultant requests the “Admin” role for the lead agency. Only individuals who work directly for the lead agency can request the “Admin” role; consultants may only request the “Submitter” role. Roles are also revoked if an individual requests access to a Lead Agency that they are not representing.
A pending role on CEQA Submit means you have requested a role to submit on behalf of an agency but have not yet been approved. Lead Agency Admins must approve Consultant Submitter requests, and the SCH approves lead and reviewing agency staff members. Users can submit documents with a pending role, but the project will not publish/start review until the role request is approved by either OPR or the lead agency.
The “Pending” label next to your name will no longer be visible once your role is approved.
If you are having issues receiving the login key, check whether the email is going to your spam folder or ask your IT department if it is being blocked by your network’s firewall. If you still cannot receive a key, contact the SCH and we will be able to provide one for you upon request.
SCH staff must recall document submissions when they do not meet certain document submission requirements. Common issues encountered include:
- The user submitted their document under a new SCH number when it should have been filed under an existing SCH number
- The “Document Description” field in “Document Details” tab does not have an informative project description
- Uploads in the “Attachments” tab do not have Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
- The user did not attach the minimum document requirements
- The user created separate submissions for each attachment when all attachments should be in one submission
- The user did not indicate a review period, or the review period did not meet CEQA standards
- A local agency did not include an attachment of a NOD or NOE form in their submission
- The lead or responsible agency is listed incorrectly
To avoid common submission mistakes, refer to the CEQA Database User Guide.
The SCH does not yet have the capability notify the lead agency that a consultant has requested to submit on behalf of an agency. The lead agency and consulting firm should be in regular contact to facilitate the approval process. Contact the SCH for assistance.
This means that the agency has not yet submitted a CEQA document to the SCH. To request the agency to be added, please email the SCH with the full name of your agency and its official website. Please make these requests before 1:00 p.m.
Note: If the Lead Agency does not have a website, the SCH will accept other forms of verification of the agency (such as meeting minutes and staff contacts).
The SCH will email the submitter when a submission needs correction and when a submission is published.
Additionally, registered CEQA Submit users can see the status of their document under the “My Documents” tab.
An “Unsubmitted” label means the user has not submitted their document to the SCH. The submitter has sole access to view the submission at this stage; OPR cannot see unsubmitted submissions.
A “Submitted” label means the user has successfully submitted the document to OPR, but a SCH staff member has not yet opened the submission. Your submission is in Read Only mode and you cannot make any changes. Note: you can make changes by “recalling” your submission, under the “actions” tab.
A “Received” label means that a SCH staff member has opened your submission and is reviewing it. If your submission needs corrections, SCH staff will email you with the required corrections and ask you to resubmit when complete. If your submission meets all requirements, SCH staff will choose the appropriate reviewing state agencies and publish your project, sending you a confirmation email upon publication.
A “Published” label means SCH staff have published your submission to CEQAnet. The “Created”, “Submitted”, and “Published” dates are not posted on CEQAnet; the “Received” date is the date that will appear on CEQAnet.
Note that only lead agencies can approve consultant requests.
A representative from the lead agency (Not a consulting firm) must be a registered user (RU) and request an “Admin” role for their agency. Admins are usually approved within an hour of their request. Once the SCH approves your request, you can then approve any submitter on behalf of your agency.
Upon approval, you will see the Admin features on the home page of the website.
Click on the pending approvals tab. Anyone that is requesting a role for your agency will appear here. You will then click on the names and approve their roles.
The SCH can de-activate the RU upon request. Email email@example.com or call us at (916) 445-0613.
Users should use descriptive names for the attachments (i.e. “NOC_Town Hall Project;” “Summary Form_Town Hall Project).
This information helps the SCH staff review and select the appropriate State reviewing agencies. Additionally, providing as much information on the form and in the fields of the Document Root helps the agencies and the public know more about the project.
Yes, upon request. The OPR staff is available to book trainings through Teams. If you need alternative applications to conduct a training, please inform a staff member.
Once the SCH publishes a project, the submitter can no longer make changes to that project. To make changes to a published project, email the requested changes to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the SCH number of the project in question. Lead agencies should provide a memo on official letterhead explaining the changes to the submission for posting.
For extended review requests, lead agencies should provide an updated Notice of Intent (NOI) or Notice of Availability (NOA) for posting. Note that the SCH cannot remove attachments once they have been published.
The large search bar will filter for keywords through our entire database. The Advanced Search function will allow you to enter in a specific SCH number, or filter by year, lead agency, location, and more. If you are having trouble locating your document, you can call the SCH at (916) 445-0613 or email us at email@example.com.
No. These notices are posted for a statute of limitation of either 35 (NOE) or 30 (NOD) days. To appeal a notice, you must contact the approving Lead/Public agency.
The SCH no longer provides close of review period acknowledgement on CEQA environmental document. We are working on a detailed notification process where you will receive an email of the status of your project. In the meantime, you can access comments submitted by state agencies at the close of review period (and after) on CEQAnet.
The SCH posts comments from State agencies on CEQAnet daily. Check your project’s CEQAnet profile frequently to see if it has received new comments.
Please email your comment letter to the State Clearinghouse at firstname.lastname@example.org with the SCH number of the project in the email.
The SCH no longer applies a SCH date stamp to Notices submitted online, as the CEQA Database already tracks received and published dates. To verify the date your document was received and posted, refer to the “Received” date on your project’s CEQAnet page or the Document Root on CEQA Submit. Registered Users may log into CEQA Submit to check the status of their submissions under the “My Documents” tab.
If the SCH processed a CEQA document prior to March 2019, the SCH no longer has a hard copy. However, our online CEQA Database will have a summarized version of the document, which was transcribed from the notice filed with our office. Refer to the Lead agency contact of the project for more information on the project. As an alternative, you may contact the State Library at (916) 654-0261.
CEQA is a self-executing statute. Please refer to the California Natural Resource Agency website for more information.
OPR cannot provide legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, consider contacting an attorney who specializes in land use and environmental law.
Please email the SCH at email@example.com or refer to the California Natural Resource Agency website.
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) does not have regulatory authority and does not enforce the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The State Clearinghouse (SCH) collects CEQA documents to provide notice to the public, responsible agencies, and trustee agencies.
If you believe there are legal or environmental issues with a project that is subject to CEQA, please contact the Lead agency to express your concerns. If you are in need of legal advice, consider contacting an attorney who specializes in land use and environmental law. OPR cannot provide legal advice.
It is the policy of OPR to select all federal programs subject to intergovernmental review as subject to review by the state. If you are applying for any federal grant or one that is subject to E.O. 12372, Intergovernmental review of Federal programs, please submit notice of your application for federal assistance as follows:
Step 1: Submitting the Federal Standard Form 424 (SF-424)
Applicants for federal assistance programs covered under E.O. 12372 must send a copy of the Federal Standard Form 424 (SF-424) to the SCH. The SCH accepts submittals of the SF-424 forms via an online submission tool on the OPR Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs website. The SF-424 is the cover sheet file of the federal grant application and is titled, “Application for Federal Assistance.” The current version of the SF-424 may be found on grants.gov under “Forms.” Do not transmit the entire application package to the SCH.
Step 2: Review Period Begins
The submittal of the SF-424 form on the OPR Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs website begins a 30-day review period. If a Notice of Intent to Comment is received from any agency within the first 30 days of the review period, the review period is automatically extended an additional 30 days, allowing a total review period of not more than 60 days. This extension is intended to allow a commenting agency sufficient time to submit comments to the applicant. The SCH does not assign identification numbers to grant applications.
The SCH notifies state and local elected officials and agencies and the public of the grant applications through the Submissions page of the OPR Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs website email and via email notifications to registered users of the website. This notification process allows elected officials and agencies and the public the opportunity to review applications and the option to comment on a particular application. Since the SCH does not receive a complete copy of the federal assistance full proposal or budget, any person wishing to review a proposal further must contact the applicant directly for more information.
Step 3: After the Review Period
At the end of the 30- or 60-day comment period, the SCH will forward copies of any comment letters it receives to the applicant. The applicant is responsible for submitting these comments to the federal agency. If no comments are received, the SCH will not notify the applicant in writing. This ends SCH involvement in the grant review process.
Questions on the online listing of the CFDA catalog can be found at the sam.gov website.
Yes, if successfully submitted. We will send confirmation to the email address entered online.
At the end of the 30- or 60-day comment period, the SCH will forward copies of any comment letters it receives to the applicant. The applicant is responsible for submitting these comments to the federal agency. If no comments are received, the SCH will not notify the applicant in writing.
You are receiving this email because when you registered at one point, you signed up for notifications. If you would like to stop receiving notifications, you can log into your account at that link and unselect notifications (unselect “Receive Notifications” - at the bottom of page) in the Dashboard Profile tab. If you have any comments on the application, you can submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org as part of the Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.