10 CFR 205.328 - Environmental requirements for Presidential Permits—Alternative 1.
(a) NEPA Compliance. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (e) of this section, when an applicant seeks a Presidential Permit, such applicant will be responsible for the costs of preparing any necessary environmental document, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), arising from ERA's obligation to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). ERA will determine whether an environmental assessment (EA) or EIS is required within 45 days of the receipt of the Presidential Permit application and of environmental information submitted pursuant to 10 CFR 205.322 (c) and (d). ERA will use these and other sources of information as the basis for making the environmental determination:
(1) If an EIS is determined to be necessary, the applicant shall enter into a contract with an independent third party, which may be a Government-owned, contractor-operated National Laboratory, or a qualified private entity selected by ERA. The third party contractor must be qualified to conduct an environmental review and prepare an EIS, as appropriate, under the supervision of ERA, and may not have a financial or other interest in the outcome of the proceedings. The NEPA process must be completed and approved before ERA will issue a Presidential Permit.
(2) If an EA is determined to be necessary, the applicant may be permitted to prepare an environmental assessment pursuant to 10 CFR 1506.5(b) for review and adoption by ERA, or the applicant may enter into a third party contract as set forth in this section.
(b) Environmental Review Procedure. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (e) of this section, environmental documents, including the EIS, where necessary, will be prepared utilizing the process set forth above. ERA, the applicant, and the independent third party, which may be a Government-owned, contractor-operated National Laboratory or a private entity, shall enter into an agreement in which the applicant will engage and pay directly for the services of the qualified third party to prepare the necessary environmental documents. The agreement shall outline the responsibilities of each party and its relationship to the other two parties regarding the work to be done or supervised. ERA shall approve the information to be developed and supervise the gathering, analysis and presentation of the information. In addition, ERA will have the authority to approve and modify any statement, analysis, and conclusion contained in the environmental documents prepared by the third party. Before commencing preparation of the environmental document the third party will execute an ERA-prepared disclosure document stating that it does not have any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of either the environmental process or the Permit application.
(c) Financial Hardship. Whenever ERA determines that a project is no longer economically feasible, or that a substantial financial burden would be imposed by the applicant bearing all of the costs of the NEPA studies, ERA may waive the requirement set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section and perform the necessary environmental review, completely or in part, with its own resources.
(d) Discussions Prior to Filing. Prior to the preparation of any Presidential Permit application and environmental report, a potential applicant is encouraged to contact ERA and each affected State public utility regulatory agency to discuss the scope of the proposed project and the potential for joint State and Federal environmental review.
(e) Federal Exemption. Upon a showing by the applicant that it is engaged in the transaction of official business of the Federal Government in filing the application pursuant to 10 CFR 205.320 et seq., it will be exempt from the requirements of this section.