When an Initial Study indicates that a project has the potential to "significantly" impact the environment, CEQA requires that an EIR be prepared. An EIR is an informational document to be used by the decision-makers when making a decision about a project. CEQA does not require technical perfection in an EIR, but rather adequacy, completeness, and a good faith effort at full disclosure. In an EIR, significant environmental impacts (also called effects) are identified; methods (mitigation measures) for reducing or avoiding impacts are identified, and project alternatives are developed which seek to reduce or avoid environmental impacts.
- As part of the EIR process, the public provides input during the scoping process; this part of the process hones which environmental impacts will be studied and what type of environmental document will be needed.
- Once the Draft EIR document is circulated, and a formal comment period begins allowing agencies and the public to comment on the adequacy of the EIR, as outlined in the CEQA Guidelines. All received comments during the Draft EIR public comment are responded to in what is called a Final EIR.