28 CFR 91.63 - Preparing an Environmental Impact Statement
(a) Initial determination. OJP will determine whether a proposed project may have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment, thereby requiring the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS). This determination will be made either:
(1) On the basis of an environmental assessment (EA) prepared for the proposed project or
(2) Without the preparation of an EA, but based on the extensive size of the proposed facility and the resulting variety of environmental impacts, the sensitive environmental nature of the proposed site, and/or the existence of highly controversial environmental impacts.
(b) CEQ regulations. The CEQ regulations in 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508 govern the preparation of the EIS. The Corrections Program Office's Handbook on Environmental Protection Requirements offers further guidance.
(c) EIS preparation team.
(1) Once OJP determines that an EIS is needed, the grantee shall notify OJP in writing about the contracting method that the grantee will use to complete the EIS. The grantee shall establish an EIS preparation team or entity that meets the requirements for an interdisciplinary approach. The team must not have any interest, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of the proposed projected or any related projects.
(2) If the grantee decides to use an alternate method to contracting out for preparation of the EIS (such as using a team of experts from various state agencies or a university), the grantee must submit a written proposal to OJP demonstrating that the team has the necessary interdisciplinary skills and experience in preparing EISs for similar projects. The proposal must include a completion schedule demonstrating that the alternate method will not result in significant delay. The proposal must also document that all members of the team, other than the grantee's employees, do not have any interest, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of the proposed project or any related projects.
(3) The grantee must use an OJP-approved statement of work (SOW) in conducting the EIS.
(4) Any consultant or contractor hired by OJP or the grantee to prepare an EIS must execute a disclosure statement specifying that it has no financial or other interest in the outcome of the project or any related projects.
(d) Notice of intent. OJP will publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce its intent to prepare the EIS. The grantee shall be responsible for drafting this notice. This notice must state the date, time and place of the scoping meeting and briefly describe the purpose of the meeting. The grantee should schedule the meeting at least 30 days from the date that the grantee submits the draft Federal Register notice to OJP.
(e) Scoping. The scoping process shall be conducted in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the CEQ regulations. The purpose of scoping is to identify and consult with affected federal, state and local agencies, Indian tribes, interested organizations and persons, including minority and low-income populations. The grantee and OPD shall conduct two distinct scoping meetings to assist in identifying both major and less important issues for the draft EIS. At the end of the scoping process, a brief report will be prepared summarizing the results, listing the participants, and attaching the meeting minutes.
(f) Draft EIS. The grantee and OJP will prepare the draft EIS in accordance with the requirements of the CEQ regulations in 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508. The draft EIS must represent the best analysis reasonably possible. The grantee must submit the draft EIS to OJP and any cooperating agencies for internal review and comment. The revised draft must be submitted to OJP and any cooperating agency for approval.
(g) Public comment. The grantee, with OJP approval, must establish a distribution list and must mail the draft EIS to those parties. OJP will then submit the approved draft EIS to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and will request EPA to publish a notice of the availability of the draft in the Federal Register. The grantee must publish a similar notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the proposed action. Additionally, the grantee and OJP shall conduct a public information meeting to answer questions and receive comments on the draft EIS.
(h) Final EIS. The grantee and OJP will prepare the final EIS, including a copy of all comments on the draft and a summary of the public information meeting. The grantee shall submit the final EIS to OJP and any cooperating agencies for internal review. The grantee and OJP will circulate the final EIS to all parties on the distribution list, to any agency or person that requests a copy, and to EPA for publication in the Federal Register. The grantee must also announce the availability of the final EIS locally.
(i) Record of decision. When the waiting period for circulation of the final EIS expires, OJP shall prepare the record of decision in accordance with 40 CFR 1505.2 of the CEQ regulations and in consultation with the grantee. This record of decision shall determine the allowable uses of the grantee's VOI/TIS fund with respect to the proposed action or its alternatives.
(j) Final action on EIS. In proceeding with the proposed action, the grantee must implement any mitigation measures or other conditions established in the Record of Decision. As part of any mitigation, the grantee must report back to OJP on the status of implementing the mitigation.