Reasons for Exemption
Authorizing the Delegated Authority is exempt under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines § 15262, which exempts a project involving only feasibility or planning studies for possible future actions which the board has not approved. Additionally, the Project meets the criteria for a Class 6 Categorical Exemption (§ 15306). Class 6 exemptions consist of “basic data collection, research, experimental management, and resource evaluation activities which do not result in a serious or major disturbance to an environmental resource.” Here, the Agreement is designed to conduct research and resource evaluations for geothermal energy within the GeoZone for future actions not yet approved by this board.
None of the exceptions to the categorical exemptions set forth in State CEQA Guidelines section 15300.2 have any applicability here.
Furthermore, the Agreement is additionally exempt under State CEQA Guidelines section 15061(b)(3), which exempts those activities for which it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment. It can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the cooperation agreements may have a significant impact on the environment. Implementation of the cooperation agreements will only give Chevron New Energies the ability to plan for the future potential development of geothermal resources that are aligned with the Geothermal Opportunity Zone objectives and community needs, and are in full compliance with all permitting obligations. As a result, it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the cooperation agreements may have a significant impact on the environment.