EIR Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of EIR, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is EIR?

n. popular acronym for environmental impact report, required by many states as part of the application to a county or city for approval of a land development or project.

History and Meaning of EIR

In the 1970s, concerns regarding environmental degradation led various organizations to demand a reasonable level of protection for the environment. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed in 1970 before every federal agency was obliged to assess the environmental effects of their proposed projects, new building permits, licences, or activities in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, many states and counties have enacted laws requiring the completion of Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) in connection with certain activities, such as land use or development projects. An Environmental Impact Report, commonly referred to as EIR, is a report containing the proposed project's description, extensive environmental analysis, and an evaluation of possible alternatives to the proposed project.

Examples of EIR

  1. Developers submitting an EIR for a proposed project in order to comply with a city or county's requirements.
  2. A state agency commissioned an EIR on the environmental effects of offshore drilling for oil.
  3. The approval of EIRs for development projects has been the subject of many public hearings and debates.
  4. EIR for a new reservoir anticipates that the project will heavily impact bird nesting sites.
  5. The City Council decided not to approve the construction of the mall because the EIR revealed that the potential effects would be too harmful to justify the development.

Legal Terms Similar to EIR

  1. Categorical Exemption - a provision in the CEQA allowing certain types of projects to be exempt from the EIR requirements due to their limited or relatively mild environmental consequences.
  2. Negative Declaration - a document prepared when a project is not expected to have signi´Čücant environmental impacts, prepared instead of EIR.
  3. Mitigated Negative Declaration - an environmental review document that indicates project construction will have a significant impact, but mitigation measures have been implemented to minimize environmental impacts.