Course Description

Preparing, Reviewing, Challenging, and Defending Documents Prepared Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Course ID: 
Policy & Regulations
Continuing Education Units: 

**Note - For every course we have implemented live stream remote attendance options for those who prefer a no-contact alternative to in-person attendance.  You will need a computer and an internet connection.  We will follow the maximum in-person meeting size as per health authorities and if recommended we will only offer remote attendance.

If conditions permit, you are welcome to attend the course in-person, we likely will have between 5 to 10 in-person attendee's in a large room to provide safe spacing.  We also wipe every surface down and provide hand washing and disinfectant wipes as a courtesy.  If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us via email or phone 425 270 3274.


Whether you work for an agency of the Federal Government or the State of California or local agency in California, seek a permit, grant, or approval from one of these agencies, or are otherwise interested in government decision-making, you need to know about NEPA and CEQA. This workshop is designed to serve both as a comprehensive introduction for those new to these statutes and an update for more experienced professionals.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is perhaps the best-known of our Nation's environmental laws. It applies whenever federal agencies propose to take action or when they propose to fund or approve the actions of others, if environmental impacts are likely to result. NEPA opened federal agency decision-making to the public, and promotes decisions with more environmentally responsible values. The procedures and documents required by NEPA may at times form the only administrative record of federal decision-making.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) parallels NEPA for State and local agency actions. It is a system of environmental review that requires agencies considering project approval to take action to protect California's environment. It applies to any project requiring State or local agency action that may have a significant effect on the environment, whether on State, local agency, or private lands.

The success or failure of many actions in California will depend on compliance with NEPA and CEQA. Using models and case studies and a sample NEPA/CEQA document, this workshop will help you understand the procedural requirements of the NEPA/CEQA process, including how to determine when these processes apply, deciding which documents to prepare, determining the scope and content of NEPA/CEQA documents, preparing an adequate cumulative impacts analysis, and integration of NEPA and CEQA with other laws. 

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

• Determine whether a NEPA / CEQA process is necessary

• Determine which process to follow: Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact / Negative Declaration (or Mitigated Negative Declaration), or Environmental Impact Statement / Environmental Impact Report

• Integrate NEPA and CEQA in a joint process

• Study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives

• Complete an adequate cumulative impacts assessment

• Prepare an Administrative Record to support agency decisions

What Attendees are saying:

"Instructor was very knlowledgeable about his expertise. Having the instructor feedback on how to/how NOT to integrate was invaluable." Amanda D., May 2016

Participants will receive substantial course materials prepared by Owen Schmidt and Richard Grassetti, which include models for compliance, interpretive case citations, and a sample NEPA/CEQA document. 

Intended Audience: 

The workshop is beneficial to agency staff and decision makers, attorneys, consultants, and members of environmental organizations, as well as interested citizens. Updates on recent cases will be valuable to any practitioner. Even those who have worked with NEPA and CEQA their entire careers will stand to learn more about the secrets to successful compliance.

Participants will receive substantial course materials prepared by a leading California expert, Richard Grassetti, which include models for compliance, interpretive case citations, and a sample NEPA/CEQA document. 

Once your order has been placed, you are subject to our cancellation policy regardless of the status of your invoice.

  • 31 days prior to training -> 100% refund
  • 30-16 days prior to training -> 50% refund
  • 15 - start of course -> No refund available

Attendee replacement acceptable at anytime.

Course registration fees and cancellation policy are subject to change without notice.

More Information

Course Topics

Exemptions and exclusions
All the reasons why an agency would not prepare any NEPA or CEQA document, or follow any NEPA or CEQA process.

Considerations in preparing adequate EAs and EISs
Eight plain-language questions any EA or EIS should readily answer.

Finding of No Significant Impact / Negative Declaration
How to make any "finding" required by law, specifically the Finding of No Significant Impact and/or Negative Declaration

Common problems and solutions in preparing adequate EIS's / EIR's
- Setting / Existing Conditions - the baseline or affected environment
- Impacts / Effects - environmental consequences and the methods of deriving them
- Mitigation Measures - mitigation incorporated into the alternatives, and mitigation as an alternative
Timing the NEPA / CEQA process to the decision making process
Understanding the essential markers of agency decision making, and matching them to the essential phases of the NEPA / CEQA process

Alternative places to go, alternative ways to get there

Cumulative Impacts
A model for conducting the "perfect" cumulative impacts analysis - everything necessary, and not one thing more

Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting
After decisions are made and actions are taken

Administrative record
What is required for support for the decisions that are made, and findings that are made.


What to Bring

Please bring a pen or pencil, and notepad if you would like to take notes. You may also choose to take notes in your book. Lunch will be on your own, but drinks and snacks will be provided throughout the day.

Billing Information

In order to guarantee a space in a course, the tuition must be paid in full TWO WEEKS before the first day of the course by either check or credit card. State and government agencies paying with a purchase order are allowed payment under the two-week time frame if a copy of the purchase order is received by NWETC.

If You Need to Cancel


  • With 31 or more days notice, we will offer a 100% refund or credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With 30-8 days notice, we will offer a course credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With fewer than 8 days notice, there is no course credit available

*Please note that attendee replacement is welcome at any time

Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations:

No upcoming offerings

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