22 CFR § 216.6 - Environmental assessments.

§ 216.6 Environmental assessments.

(a) General purpose. The purpose of the Environmental Assessment is to provide Agency and host country decision makers with a full discussion of significant environmental effects of a proposed action. It includes alternatives which would avoid or minimize adverse effects or enhance the quality of the environment so that the expected benefits of development objectives can be weighed against any adverse impacts upon the human environment or any irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources.

(b) Collaboration with affected nation on preparation. Collaboration in obtaining data, conducting analyses and considering alternatives will help build an awareness of development associated environmental problems in less developed countries as well as assist in building an indigenous institutional capability to deal nationally with such problems. Missions, Bureaus and Offices will collaborate with affected countries to the maximum extent possible, in the development of any Environmental Assessments and consideration of environmental consequences as set forth therein.

(c) Content and form. The Environmental Assessment shall be based upon the scoping statement and shall address the following elements, as appropriate:

(1) Summary. The summary shall stress the major conclusions, areas of controversy, if any, and the issues to be resolved.

(2) Purpose. The Environmental Assessment shall briefly specify the underlying purpose and need to which the Agency is responding in proposing the alternatives including the proposed action.

(3) Alternatives including the proposed action. This section should present the environmental impacts of the proposal and its alternatives in comparative form, thereby sharpening the issues and providing a clear basis for choice among options by the decision maker. This section should explore and evaluate reasonable alternatives and briefly discuss the reasons for eliminating those alternatives which were not included in the detailed study; devote substantial treatment to each alternative considered in detail including the proposed action so that reviewers may evaluate their comparative merits; include the alternative of no action; identify the Agency's preferred alternative or alternatives, if one or more exists; include appropriate mitigation measures not already included in the proposed action or alternatives.

(4) Affected environment. The Environmental Assessment shall succinctly describe the environment of the area(s) to be affected or created by the alternatives under consideration. The descriptions shall be no longer than is necessary to understand the effects of the alternatives. Data and analyses in the Environmental Assessment shall be commensurate with the significance of the impact with less important material summarized, consolidated or simply referenced.

(5) Environmental consequences. This section forms the analytic basis for the comparisons under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. It will include the environmental impacts of the alternatives including the proposed action; any adverse effects that cannot be avoided should the proposed action be implemented; the relationship between short-term uses of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity; and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposal should it be implemented. It should not duplicate discussions in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. This section of the Environmental Assessment should include discussions of direct effects and their significance; indirect effects and their significance; possible conflicts between the proposed action and land use plans, policies and controls for the areas concerned; energy requirements and conservation potential of various alternatives and mitigation measures; natural or depletable resource requirements and conservation potential of various requirements and mitigation measures; urban quality; historic and cultural resources and the design of the built environment, including the reuse and conservation potential of various alternatives and mitigation measures; and means to mitigate adverse environmental impacts.

(6) List of preparers. The Environmental Assessment shall list the names and qualifications (expertise, experience, professional discipline) of the persons primarily responsible for preparing the Environmental Assessment or significant background papers.

(7) Appendix. An appendix may be prepared.

(d) Program assessment. Program Assessments may be appropriate in order to assess the environmental effects of a number of individual actions and their cumulative environmental impact in a given country or geographic area, or the environmental impacts that are generic or common to a class of agency actions, or other activities which are not country-specific. In these cases, a single, programmatic assessment will be prepared in A.I.D./Washington and circulated to appropriate overseas Missions, host governments, and to interested parties within the United States. To the extent practicable, the form and content of the programmatic Environmental Assessment will be the same as for project Assessments. Subsequent Environmental Assessments on major individual actions will only be necessary where such follow-on or subsequent activities may have significant environmental impacts on specific countries where such impacts have not been adequately evaluated in the programmatic Environmental Assessment. Other programmatic evaluations of classes of actions may be conducted in an effort to establish additional categorical exclusions or design standards or criteria for such classes that will eliminate or minimize adverse effects of such actions, enhance the environmental effect of such action or reduce the amount of paperwork or time involved in these procedures. Programmatic evaluations conducted for the purpose of establishing additional categorical exclusions under § 216.2(c) or design considerations that will eliminate significant effects for classes of actions shall be made available for public comment before the categorical exclusions or design standards or criteria are adopted by A.I.D. Notice of the availability of such document shall be published in the Federal Register. Additional categorical exclusions shall be adopted by A.I.D. upon the approval of the Administrator, and design consideration in accordance with usual agency procedures.

(e) Consultation and review.

(1) When Environmental Assessments are prepared on activities carried out within or focused on specific developing countries, consultation will be held between A.I.D. staff and the host government both in the early stages of preparation and on the results and significance of the completed Assessment before the project is authorized.

(2) Missions will encourage the host government to make the Environmental Assessment available to the general public of the recipient country. If Environmental Assessments are prepared on activities which are not country-specific, the Assessment will be circulated by the Environmental Coordinator to A.I.D.'s Overseas Missions and interested governments for information, guidance and comment and will be made available in the U.S. to interested parties.

(f) Effect in other countries. In a situation where an analysis indicates that potential effects may extend beyond the national boundaries of a recipient country and adjacent foreign nations may be affected, A.I.D. will urge the recipient country to consult with such countries in advance of project approval and to negotiate mutually acceptable accommodations.

(g) Classified material. Environmental Assessments will not normally include classified or administratively controlled material. However, there may be situations where environmental aspects cannot be adequately discussed without the inclusion of such material. The handling and disclosure of classified or administratively controlled material shall be governed by 22 CFR part 9. Those portions of an Environmental Assessment which are not classified or administratively controlled will be made available to persons outside the Agency as provided for in 22 CFR part 212.

[45 FR 70247, Oct. 23, 1980]