Reasons for Exemption
The action is not defined as a project under CEQA (Public Resources Code Section 21065, Section 15378 of the State CEQA Guidelines ) because neither the funding agreement and commitment of funds nor the JPA Amendment will cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect
physical change in the environment and involves continuing administrative or maintenance activities (Section 15378(b)(2) of the State CEQA Guidelines). In addition, the action is not defined as a project under CEQA because it involves other government fiscal activities which do not involve any commitment to any specific
project which may result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment (Section 15378(b)(4) of the State CEQA Guidelines). Furthermore, where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA (Section 1506l(b)(3) of the State CEQA Guidelines). In the alternative, and even if the proposed action was a project under CEQA, the action is categorically exempt under the provisions of CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines. The overall activities involve CEQA analysis, environmental permitting, and design and engineering to support those pre-construction planning activities for the DCP. The basic data collection
and resource evaluation activities needed for the environmental review and permitting do not result in any adverse impacts to an environmental resource. These may be strictly for information gathering purposes, or as part of a study leading to an action which a public agency has not yet approved, adopted, or funded. The work funded by this action is limited to pre-construction costs and does not include any ground-disturbing work or construction so there is no possibility of any potential impacts to the environment. Accordingly, the proposed action qualifies for a Class 6 Categorical Exemption (Section 15306 of the State CEQA Guidelines).