Public Agencies’ Duty to Minimize Environmental Damage

CEQA establishes a duty for public agencies to avoid or minimize environmental damage where feasible. In regulating public or private activities, agencies are required to consider preventing environmental damage. A public agency should not approve a project as proposed if there are feasible alternatives or mitigation measures available that would substantially lessen any significant effects that a project proposal would have on the environment. The duty to prevent or minimize environmental damage is implemented through the findings required by CEQA.

CEQA recognizes that in determining whether and how a project should be approved, a public agency has an obligation to balance a variety of public objectives, including economic, environmental, and social factors and, in particular, the goal of providing a decent home and satisfying living environment for every Californian. An agency shall prepare a statement of overriding considerations (14 CCR Section 15093) to reflect the ultimate balancing of competing public objectives when the agency decides to approve a project that will cause one or more significant effects on the environment.

Reference: 14 CCR Section 15091

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