Land Use & California Environmental Quality Act

The California Legislature enacted the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in 1970. CEQA recognizes the importance of input from public agencies that have “jurisdiction by law” over natural resource areas and requires public agencies to consider and disclose the environmental effects of a project to the public. The Placer County Air Pollution Control District (District) was established by the California Health and Safety Code as a public agency having primary responsibility for overseeing and regulating air pollution within Placer County. As a public agency, the District takes an active part in the intergovernmental review process under CEQA. In general, the District is a commenting agency in reviewing environmental documents (for discretionary land use development projects within Placer County) which is in response to and prepared by lead agencies (cities, county, and other public agencies).


The District provides local agencies with information on how to comply with CEQA for air quality impacts, through our CEQA Review Program. Staff reviews and sometimes comments on environmental documents which provide lead agencies with valuable information and technical support related to potential air quality impacts from land use projects. As a part of the review program, the District developed a CEQA Handbook which has been designed as an advisory tool with recommended mitigation measures, emission estimation models, and step-by-step procedures for conducting a thorough air quality analysis for land use projects. The District’s CEQA Handbook can be reviewed and downloaded from the CEQA Air Quality Handbook page.

Review of Land Use Projects

In addition to the District’s CEQA Handbook, the District’s Board of Directors adopted the Review of Land Use Projects under the CEQA Policy in 2016. The policy established the thresholds of significance for criteria pollutants as well as greenhouse gases (GHG) with the review principles which serve as guidelines for the District staff when reviewing and commenting on the environmental documents prepared by lead agencies. The detailed content of the policy and associated analytical assessments for significant thresholds can be reviewed and downloaded from the CEQA Thresholds and Review Principles page.