CEQA Does Not Require Identification of Significant Effects of the Environment (Sea Level Rise) On a Project; Assertion of New Claims Based in EIR Required to be Revised by Judgement in a Prior Case

The Second Appellate District recently held that CEQA does not require identification of significant effects of the environment on a project, only significant effects of a project on the environment. The court also held that plaintiffs are barred from alleging new CEQA inadequacies in challenge to an EIR that is being revised pursuant to a judgment in a prior case. Plaintiffs Ballona Wetlands Trust, Anthony Morales, Surfrider Foundation, and Ballona Ecosystem Education Project ("BEEP") had challenged the revised EIR with respect to project description, the analysis of archaeological resources, the analysis of sea level rise resulting from global climate change, and the finding of no significant impact on land use consistency. In addition, they challenged the award of costs to the defendants as prevailing parties.

The court concluded that the revised EIR adequately discussed preservation of archaeological resources and sea level rise, and concluded that defendant BEEP's newly asserted challenges to the project description and the finding on land use consistency were beyond the scope of the trial court's jurisdiction after entry of judgment and issuance of a peremptory writ of mandate. In addition, the court held that the defendants the City of Los Angeles and the developer as prevailing parties were entitled to recover costs.

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