CEQA Requirements for Obtaining a Permit

This page provides an overview of specific requirements for complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) associated with submitting, reviewing, and processing a new or revised solid waste facility permit. This page is not intended to provide guidance for lead agencies on the preparation of CEQA documents. More complete detailed guidance is available in CalRecycle’s CEQA Toolbox

Please call or e-mail Permitting and LEA Support staff if you have any questions about the CEQA process.

Which Permit Tiers Require CEQA Compliance?

Although the registration tier currently does not require the applicant to submit evidence of CEQA compliance, CEQA compliance may be required through a permit or approval by a responsible or lead agency. Please note that CalRecycle staff are reviewing the CEQA requirements for registration permits and may change this regulation in the future.

Operator Permit Application Filing Requirements

For a full or standardized permit, the operator is required to submit the following CEQA information with the complete and correct permit application:

  • Evidence of CEQA compliance; or
  • Information on the status of CEQA compliance; including
  • The proposed project description; and
  • Any CEQA mitigation monitoring implementation schedules.

Environmental Review Document Preparation Guidelines

The following outlines were developed by CalRecycle staff as guides to lead agencies in the preparation of CEQA documentation and to responsible agencies for their review of documentation for the construction and/or operation of a solid waste facility requiring a full solid waste facility permit (SWFP).

Status Reports

While a status report may be adequate for submittal of the application, evidence of CEQA compliance is required prior to CalRecycle concurrence in order to obtain a full or standardized permit.

Lack of CEQA compliance is not a reason for finding an application incomplete or incorrect.

However, utilizing Section 15111 of the CEQA Guidelines, an application would not be received (“accepted for filing“) by the LEA under the permitting statute or ordinance until such time as progress toward completing the environmental documentation required by CEQA is sufficient to enable an LEA to complete the permit process. Thus the permit review timelines are halted until CEQA is sufficiently completed.

Evidence of Compliance

Once CEQA compliance has been achieved, evidence of compliance shall be submitted to the enforcement agency.

The following are examples of types of environmental documents that may be submitted to demonstrate evidence of CEQA compliance or status towards compliance:

Please see the Natural Resources Agency’s CEQA Guidelines for more information on each type of environmental document.

LEA Review and Findings

Environmental Document Review Process

The LEA should be available to provide the following services as a responsible agency:

  • Provide guidance to local planning agencies.
  • Scoping meetings.
  • Early consultation.
  • Comment on Initial Study and draft environmental document(s).
  • Review final environmental document(s) and response to comments.

Also see:

Application Package Review Process

  • Compare final environmental document(s) with application and/or proposed (or draft) permit, especially site design parameters such as tonnage, traffic, hours, etc. to make sure they match.
  • Add terms and conditions to proposed permit to mitigate potential environmental impacts.
  • Submit complete and correct application package and proposed permit to CalRecycle.
  • Include required LEA CEQA finding with proposed permit.

Required LEA/EA CEQA Finding

Full permit: the LEA must make the following written finding prior to submittal of a new or revised proposed permit:

“The proposed permit is consistent with, and supported by, existing CEQA analysis.” 27 CCR Section 21650(g)(7).

Standardized permits: if evidence of CEQA compliance has not previously been submitted, evidence must be received within 15 days of acceptance of the application. 14 CCR Section 18105.2(h)

Example: The LEA CEQA finding should support the proposed permit by including, at a minimum, the following information:

  • A statement that the LEA has reviewed the CEQA document(s).
  • References to all environmental documents and amendments that support this finding, including: title of environmental document, approving agency, date of approval, and State Clearinghouse number (SCH#).
  • Finding language: “The proposed permit is consistent with, and supported by existing CEQA analysis.”
  • Signed and dated by LEA.

Sample/model CEQA findings will be provided on this page at a later date. If you have an example you would like to share, please send it using the e-mail link provided at the bottom of this page.

CalRecycle Review and Finding

Environmental Document Review Process 

CalRecycle’s Permitting and LEA Support staff provide the following services as a Responsible Agency:

  • Provide guidance to LEAs and local planning agencies.
  • Conduct site visits.
  • Attend local hearings.
  • Attend scoping meetings.
  • Provide early consultation.
  • Comment on draft environmental document.
  • Review final environmental document and response to comments.

Proposed Permit Package Review Process

Staff Report Language

For full and standardized permits, the following introductory statement is used by CalRecycle staff in the CEQA analysis section of the permit staff report:

For a project subject to CEQA, State law requires evidence of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); either through the preparation, circulation, and adoption/certification of an environmental document; or by determining that the proposal is categorically or statutorily exempt prior to project approval.”

The staff report also contains a chronological reference to all environmental documents prepared for the project.

CalRecycle staff must make a determination prior to recommending concurrence in the issuance of a proposed permit that the final CEQA documentation is adequate for CalRecycle’s environmental evaluation of the proposed project for those project activities which are within CalRecycle’s expertise and authority, or which are required to be carried out or approved by CalRecycle.

CEQA Resources



For more information contact: LEA Support Services, PermitTrainingAssistance@calrecycle.ca.gov