The basic purpose of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as established by the California Code of Regulations (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15002), is to:
Inform decision-makers and the public about potential, significant environmental effects of a proposed project
Identify the ways that environmental damage can be avoided or significantly reduced, and prevent significant, avoidable damage to the environment by requiring changes in project through the use or alternatives or mitigation measures
Disclosure of Information
For projects that are not exempt from the environmental review process, CEQA requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a project which may have a significant environmental effect (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15064(a)(1)), or of a Negative Declaration (ND) or Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) if no significant environmental effects will occur (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15070).