The 2022 RTP/SCS is a regional planning document that provides policy guidance to local jurisdictions within Kern County. Specifically, it necessitates preparation of a Program EIR, which is a “first-tier” CEQA document designed to consider “broad policy alternatives and program wide mitigation measures” (State CEQA Guidelines Sec. 15168). The programmatic environmental analysis for the Program EIR will evaluate environmental effects, such as direct and indirect effects, growth-inducing impacts, and cumulative impacts, and will include mitigation measures to offset any identified potentially significant adverse environmental effects. In addition, the Program EIR will supply the foundation for subsequent, site-specific environmental reviews that will be conducted by implementation agencies, as projects in the RTP/SCS are developed (State CEQA Guidelines Sec. 15385).
The RTP/SCS Program EIR will provide an opportunity to inform decision makers and the public about potential environmental effects associated with the implementation of the RTP/SCS and alternatives. This first-tier regional-scale environmental analysis will also help local agencies evaluate and reduce direct and indirect impacts, growth-inducing impacts, and cumulative environmental effects with respect to local projects.