Reasons for Exemption
SMUD has reviewed and determined that the Project is categorically exempt from the provisions of CEQA pursuant to Sections 15301 (Existing Facilities), 15303 (New Construction), 15304 (Minor Alterations to Land), and Section 15061 (b)(3) (Common Sense Exemption). Section 15301 applies to projects that consists of the operation, repair, maintenance, permitting, leasing, licensing, or minor alternations of existing public or private structures, facilities, mechanical equipment, or topographical features, involving negligible or no expansion of use beyond that existing at the time of the lead agency’s determination; (b) Existing facilities of both investor and publicly owned utilities used to provide electric power, natural gas, sewerage, or other public utility services. Thus, the Project will involve the minor alternation of an existing power generation facility and would not result in expansion of use. Section 15303 consists of construction and location of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structures; installation of small new equipment and facilities in small structures. The numbers of structures described in this section are the maximum allowable on any legal parcel. The Project would not exceed the maximum allowable structures on any legal parcel. Section 15304 consists of minor public or private alterations in the condition of land, water, and/or vegetation which do not involve removal of healthy, mature, scenic trees except for forestry or agricultural purposes, including (f) Minor trenching and backfilling where the surface is restored. The Project would not remove any healthy, mature, or scenic trees. The trenching would be temporary and the surface would be restored. The Common Sense Exemption in Section 15061 (b)(3) states that “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”. All work will be within the existing SMUD-owned parcel and there is no possibility that the activity may have a significant effect on the environment. Therefore, no further environmental review is required.