32 CFR 651.29 - Determining when to use a CX (screening criteria).
(a) To use a CX, the proponent must satisfy the following three screening conditions:
(1) The action has not been segmented. Determine that the action has not been segmented to meet the definition of a CX. Segmentation can occur when an action is broken down into small parts in order to avoid the appearance of significance of the total action. An action can be too narrowly defined, minimizing potential impacts in an effort to avoid a higher level of NEPA documentation. The scope of an action must include the consideration of connected, cumulative, and similar actions (see § 651.51(a)).
(2) No exceptional circumstances exist. Determine if the action involves extraordinary circumstances that would preclude the use of a CX (see paragraphs (b) (1) through (14) of this section).
(3) One (or more) CX encompasses the proposed action. Identify a CX (or multiple CXs) that potentially encompasses the proposed action (Appendix B of this part). If no CX is appropriate, and the project is not exempted by statute or emergency provisions, an EA or an EIS must be prepared, before a proposed action may proceed.
(b) Extraordinary circumstances that preclude the use of a CX are:
(1) Reasonable likelihood of significant effects on public health, safety, or the environment.
(2) Reasonable likelihood of significant environmental effects (direct, indirect, and cumulative).
(3) Imposition of uncertain or unique environmental risks.
(4) Greater scope or size than is normal for this category of action.
(5) Reportable releases of hazardous or toxic substances as specified in 40 CFR part 302, Designation, Reportable Quantities, and Notification.
(6) Releases of petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) except from a properly functioning engine or vehicle, application of pesticides and herbicides, or where the proposed action results in the requirement to develop or amend a Spill Prevention, Control, or Countermeasures Plan.
(7) When a review of an action that might otherwise qualify for a Record of Non-applicability (RONA) reveals that air emissions exceed de minimis levels or otherwise that a formal Clean Air Act conformity determination is required.
(8) Reasonable likelihood of violating any federal, state, or local law or requirements imposed for the protection of the environment.
(9) Unresolved effect on environmentally sensitive resources, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section.
(10) Involving effects on the quality of the environment that are likely to be highly controversial.
(11) Involving effects on the environment that are highly uncertain, involve unique or unknown risks, or are scientifically controversial.
(12) Establishes a precedent (or makes decisions in principle) for future or subsequent actions that are reasonably likely to have a future significant effect.
(13) Potential for degradation of already existing poor environmental conditions. Also, initiation of a degrading influence, activity, or effect in areas not already significantly modified from their natural condition.
(14) Introduction/employment of unproven technology.
(c) If a proposed action would adversely affect “environmentally sensitive” resources, unless the impact has been resolved through another environmental process (e.g., CZMA, NHPA, CWA, etc.) a CX cannot be used (see paragraph (e) of this section). Environmentally sensitive resources include:
(1) Proposed federally listed, threatened, or endangered species or their designated critical habitats.
(2) Properties listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (AR 200-4).
(3) Areas having special designation or recognition such as prime or unique agricultural lands; coastal zones; designated wilderness or wilderness study areas; wild and scenic rivers; National Historic Landmarks (designated by the Secretary of the Interior); 100-year floodplains; wetlands; sole source aquifers (potential sources of drinking water); National Wildlife Refuges; National Parks; areas of critical environmental concern; or other areas of high environmental sensitivity.
(4) Cultural Resources as defined in AR 200-4.
(d) The use of a CX does not relieve the proponent from compliance with other statutes, such as RCRA, or consultations under the Endangered Species Act or the NHPA. Such consultations may be required to determine the applicability of the CX screening criteria.
(e) For those CXs that require a REC, a brief (one to two sentence) presentation of conclusions reached during screening is required in the REC. This determination can be made using current information and expertise, if available and adequate, or can be derived through conversation, as long as the basis for the determination is included in the REC. Copies of appropriate interagency correspondence can be attached to the REC. Example conclusions regarding screening criteria are as follows:
(1) “USFWS concurred in informal coordination that E/T species will not be affected”.
(2) “Corps of Engineers determined action is covered by nationwide general permit”.
(3) “SHPO concurred with action”.
(4) “State Department of Natural Resources concurred that no effect to state sensitive species is expected”.