CEQA and Environmental Impact Reports: 2020 Cases, Standards, Mitigation Measures, Exemptions and Lead Agencies

Current Requirements for Project Approval, Environmental Protection and Commercial Development

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, October 16, 2020

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide environmental counsel on recent developments involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), cases decided by the California Fifth District Court of Appeal, and the updated topic papers related to mitigation measures, exemptions, lead agencies, responsible agencies, and trustee agencies.


Last updated in 2018, CEQA is annually interpreted via cases and topic papers, providing advice on what is necessary for a valid environmental impact report (EIR) as part of a commercial development. Environmental and real estate counsel must both prepare on the current state of assessment of EIRs under California's preeminent environmental law.

A series of cases in early 2020 hold that EIRs must adequately respond to comments on a draft EIR where mitigation measures were suggested. Further, the California appellate court has weighed in on the circumstances when there is a project that may have significant environmental impact on cultural resources, sensitive plant species, oak trees, and aesthetic resources.

Further, the CEQA Portal Topic Papers for 2020 provide guidance on mitigation measures and CEQA exemptions. CEQA has also provided detailed information on what constitutes a lead agency vs. responsible agency or trustee agency and what agency has the primary responsibility for carrying out or approving a project.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental attorneys explains the current interpretation and enforcement of CEQA and the status of mitigation measures and exemptions.



  1. General overview of 1st quarter cases and topic papers for 2020 CEQA
  2. Cases in California Fifth Appellate Court
    1. King and Gardiner Farms v. County of Kern (Feb. 25, 2020)
    2. Environmental Council of Sacramento v. County of Sacramento (Mar. 2, 2020)
    3. Save the Agoura Cornell Knoll v. City of Agoura Hills (Mar. 17, 2020)
    4. Citizens for a Responsible Caltrans Decision v. Department of Transp. (2020)
  3. Topic papers
    1. Mitigation measures
      1. Initial study
      2. EIR
    2. CEQA exemptions
      1. Statutory vs. categorical
      2. Qualification
      3. Unusual circumstance exemption
    3. Updated lead agency, responsible agencies, and trustee agencies


The panel will review these and other important topics:

  • What is necessary in an EIR under current guidelines?
  • How have the courts asserted what is needed in an EIR and how questions to draft EIRs must be answered?
  • What mitigation measures must a project implement to have an EIR approved?
  • How can a project best qualify for CEQA exemptions?


Harris, Arielle
Arielle O. Harris

Miller Starr Regalia

Ms. Harris represents developers, landowners, and public agencies in connection with obtaining and defending land use...  |  Read More

Oehlschlager, Kathryn
Kathryn L. Oehlschlager

Downey Brand

With more than fifteen years of experience in environmental law, Ms. Oehlschlager has built a robust practice spanning...  |  Read More

Owsowitz, Sarah
Sarah E. Owsowitz

Of Counsel
Best Best & Krieger

Ms. Owsowitz’s practice focuses on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) advice and litigation, with a...  |  Read More

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