16 CFR 1.83 - Whether to commence the process for an environmental impact statement.
(a) The Bureau responsible for submitting a proposed rule, guide, or proposal for legislation to the Commission for agency action shall, after consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, initially determine whether or not the proposal is one which requires an environmental impact statement. Except for matters where the environmental effects, if any, would appear to be either (1) clearly significant and therefore the decision is made to prepare an environmental impact statement, or (2) so uncertain that environmental analysis would be based on speculation, the Bureau should normally prepare an “environmental assessment” CEQ Regulation (40 CFR 1508.9) for purposes of providing sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact. The Bureau should involve environmental agencies to the extent practicable in preparing an assessment. An environmental assessment shall be made available to the public when the proposed action is made public along with any ensuing environmental impact statement or finding of no significant impact.
(b) If the Bureau determines that the proposal is one which requires an environmental impact statement, it shall commence the “scoping process” CEQ Regulation (40 CFR 1501.7) except that the impact statement which is part of a proposal for legislation need not go through a scoping process but shall conform to CEQ Regulation (40 CFR 1506.8). As soon as practicable after its decision to prepare an environmental impact statement and before the scoping process, the Bureau shall publish a notice of intent as provided in CEQ Regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22).
(c) If, on the basis of an environmental assessment, the determination is made not to prepare a statement, a finding of “no significant impact” shall be made in accordance with CEQ Regulation (40 CFR 1508.3) and shall be made available to the public as specified in CEQ Regulation (40 CFR 1506.6).