Type, Section or Code
Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15301; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15306
Reasons for Exemption
Regarding the Energy-Water Desalination Program, DOE prepared a Categorical Exclusion Determination, dated 1/7/2020, under the National Environmental Policy Act. DOE’s analysis took into account restrictions on Program activities, including, but not limited to: (a) research by qualified scientific staff; (b) all legal and regulatory requirements regarding environmental, health, and safety to be met; (c) activities to be indoors and in existing laboratory and research facilities; (d) no funding of large-scale “demonstration” activities; and (e) no support for the construction of new facilities or the expansion of existing facilities.
Turning to the grant recipient, in addition to many other locations to be determined, research will occur at LBNL. This will include paper and desktop computer studies in office and/or lab/office space and small-scale laboratory research in existing, appropriately outfitted lab space.
LBNL prepared an internal evaluation under the California Environmental Quality Act, dated 12/23/2019, and concluded that the proposed project is exempt under Sections 15301 and 15306 of CEQA regulations. LBNL relied upon similar reasoning to DOE, including that LBNL would ensure that future funded activities meet the research conditions through “flow-through” requirements in the application process and in contracts with funding awardees.
The CEC’s co-funding of the Program will be $3 million through the EPC-20-001 grant. The CEC has independently reviewed the project’s environmental aspects. The project consists of the operation of existing public or private facilities, involving negligible or no expansion of existing or former use. Therefore, this project is exempt under California Code of Regulations, title 14, section 15301, Existing Facilities. In addition, the project involves data collection, research, and experiments, which would not result in a serious or major disturbance to an environmental resource. Therefore, this project is exempt under California Code of Regulations, title 14, section 15306, Information Collection.