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CEQA Air Quality Handbook

CEQA Handbook Photo

The District’s CEQA Handbook describes the District’s existing review process related to the processing of CEQA documents when the District acts as a commenting agency for land use projects located within Placer County. The Handbook contains criteria used by the District to recommend when an air quality analysis should be needed, what types of analysis should be performed, and what kinds of mitigation measures should be identified to reduce overall air quality impacts from proposed land use projects. These criteria include specific methods for calculating emissions with references to applicable models, recommended thresholds for evaluating the level of significance, and mitigation strategies for mitigating a project’s related air quality impacts. The CEQA Handbook is provided electronically as an entire document and as individual chapter/appendix sections by the following icons. Any future updates will be shown after each chapter. Contact the District by email or at (530) 745-2330 with any questions or issues.

CEQA Handbook Chapters

CHAPTER 1: Project Review & Analysis (521 KB), October, 2012
CHAPTER 2: Thresholds of Significance , October, 2016
CHAPTER 3: Analyzing Construction Emissions (242 KB), October, 2012
CHAPTER 4: Analyzing Operational Emissions  (320 KB), October, 2012
CHAPTER 5: Analyzing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (427 KB), October, 2012

Appendix A. Recommended Mitigation Measures (Construction) (103 KB), October, 2012
Appendix B. District Rules & Regulations (Construction) (121 KB), October, 2012
Appendix C. Recommended Mitigation Measures (Operational) (123 KB), October, 2012
Appendix D. District Rules & Regulations (Operational) (104 KB), October, 2012
Appendix E. Preparing a Health Risk Assessment for Land Use Projects (393 KB), October, 2012
Appendix F. GHG Mitigation Measures Reduction Chart (109 KB), October, 2012
Appendix G. Mitigation Measures (Greenhouse Gases) (151 KB), October, 2012
Appendix H. 2001/2008 Air Quality Mitigation Funds Policy (Land Use) (489 KB), October, 2012
Appendix I. Glossary (165 KB), October, 2012
Appendix J. References (91 KB) October, 2012

Handbook Revision History

January, 2013 – Update to the District's offsite mitigation fee.
October 2012 –1st Version of the Handbook is released.

The Evolution of the District’s CEQA Review Program

October, 2012 Board Meeting: The Board was introduced to the release of 1st CEQA Handbook prepared by Staff to explain the District’s CEQA Review Program.

June, 2010 Board Meeting: The Board approved a motion to support the existing thresholds and directed staff to continue using the existing thresholds associated with land use projects.

August, 2009: The District hosts its first Greenhouse Gas Workshop and Presentation for land use planners and CEQA practitioners.

December, 2008 Board Meeting: The Board was informed of the Districts existing CEQA review program, including the District’s recommended thresholds, and staff discussed the compilation of a future “CEQA Handbook”.

PCAPCD Off-Site Mitigation Fee Program

A policy was adopted by the District’s Board of Directors in 2001 (amended in 2008) which provided an alternative for developers to offset the increased emissions from new land use development projects by paying monetary incentives and established guidelines for the use of air quality mitigation funds received from developers. Based on this policy, the District manages an off-site mitigation fee program to be utilized as an option for some development projects when the on-site mitigations are insufficient to offset their related impacts to below the applicable thresholds. It is a voluntary measure which would be recommended by the District through the CEQA review process to the developers and lead agencies for consideration.

The fee rate is based on the cost-effectiveness factor updated by the latest CARB Carl Moyer Program Guideline. Cost-effectiveness is a measure of the dollars provided for each ton of covered emission reductions; CARB may adjust it to reflect emission reduction market conditions. The current rate for the District’s off-site mitigation fee calculation is $18,260 per ton of ozone precursor emissions (ROG or NOx), effective January 1, 2016. For more information regarding the District’s Off-site mitigation measure, see Chapter 4 of the CEQA Air Quality Handbook.

CEQA Modeling Analysis Tools

Models are commonly used to calculate project air emissions. More information can be found in Chapter 1 of the handbook on various models available.


The California Emissions Estimator Model (CalEEMod) calculates both criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions from land development projects. The model and user’s guide can be downloaded at

Construction Emissions Mitigation

Projects that exceed the short-term construction threshold of 82 pounds per day of ROG, NOx and/or PM must mitigate the air quality impact. Standard language for construction mitigation is recommended for these projects. Please contact your city or county Planning Department to verify mitigation measures and/or Conditions of Approval addressing air quality impacts relating to your project.

The following tools and procedure assist in determining if the heavy-duty off-road mobile equipment fleet meets the mitigation requirements:

  • Use the Model Equipment List (XLS) to gather fleet information.
  • Use the Construction Mitigation Calculator (XLS 4.4 Mb) to determine if the fleet meets the emission reductions.
  • Submit the completed equipment list and calculator file (pdf files are not accepted for the emission calculator) to the District email at
  • Obtain an endorsement letter and approval of the Dust Control Plan and/or Comprehensive Equipment Inventory from PCAPCD staff prior to starting construction.

The Dust Control Plan Application can also be submitting by completing the on-line form: Online Form