10 CFR 1021.410 - Application of categorical exclusions (classes of actions that normally do not require EAs or EISs).
(a) The actions listed in appendices A and B to this subpart D are classes of actions that DOE has determined do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment (categorical exclusions).
(b) To find that a proposal is categorically excluded, DOE shall determine the following:
(1) The proposal fits within a class of actions that is listed in appendix A or B to this subpart D;
(2) There are no extraordinary circumstances related to the proposal that may affect the significance of the environmental effects of the proposal. Extraordinary circumstances are unique situations presented by specific proposals, including, but not limited to, scientific controversy about the environmental effects of the proposal; uncertain effects or effects involving unique or unknown risks; and unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources; and
(3) The proposal has not been segmented to meet the definition of a categorical exclusion. Segmentation can occur when a proposal is broken down into small parts in order to avoid the appearance of significance of the total action. The scope of a proposal must include the consideration of connected and cumulative actions, that is, the proposal is not connected to other actions with potentially significant impacts ( 40 CFR 1508.25(a)(1)), is not related to other actions with individually insignificant but cumulatively significant impacts ( 40 CFR 1508.27(b)(7)), and is not precluded by 40 CFR 1506.1 or § 1021.211 of this part concerning limitations on actions during EIS preparation.
(c) All categorical exclusions may be applied by any organizational element of DOE. The sectional divisions in appendix B to this subpart D are solely for purposes of organization of that appendix and are not intended to be limiting.
(d) A class of actions includes activities foreseeably necessary to proposals encompassed within the class of actions (such as award of implementing grants and contracts, site preparation, purchase and installation of equipment, and associated transportation activities).
(e) Categorical exclusion determinations for actions listed in appendix B shall be documented and made available to the public by posting online, generally within two weeks of the determination, unless additional time is needed in order to review and protect classified information, “confidential business information,” or other information that DOE would not disclose pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ( 5 U.S.C. 552). Posted categorical exclusion determinations shall not disclose classified information, “confidential business information,” or other information that DOE would not disclose pursuant to FOIA. (See also 10 CFR 1021.340.)
(f) Proposed recurring activities to be undertaken during a specified time period, such as routine maintenance activities for a year, may be addressed in a single categorical exclusion determination after considering the potential aggregated impacts.
(g) The following clarifications are provided to assist in the appropriate application of categorical exclusions that employ the terms or phrases:
(1) “Previously disturbed or developed” refers to land that has been changed such that its functioning ecological processes have been and remain altered by human activity. The phrase encompasses areas that have been transformed from natural cover to non-native species or a managed state, including, but not limited to, utility and electric power transmission corridors and rights-of-way, and other areas where active utilities and currently used roads are readily available.
(2) DOE considers terms such as “small” and “small-scale” in the context of the particular proposal, including its proposed location. In assessing whether a proposed action is small, in addition to the actual magnitude of the proposal, DOE considers factors such as industry norms, the relationship of the proposed action to similar types of development in the vicinity of the proposed action, and expected outputs of emissions or waste. When considering the physical size of a proposed facility, for example, DOE would review the surrounding land uses, the scale of the proposed facility relative to existing development, and the capacity of existing roads and other infrastructure to support the proposed action.