32 CFR 651.36 - Public involvement.
(a) The involvement of other agencies, organizations, and individuals in the development of EAs and EISs enhances collaborative issue identification and problem solving. Such involvement demonstrates that the Army is committed to open decision-making and builds the necessary community trust that sustains the Army in the long term. Public involvement is mandatory for EISs (see § 651.47 and Appendix D of this part for information on public involvement requirements).
(b) Environmental agencies and the public will be involved to the extent practicable in the preparation of an EA. If the proponent elects to involve the public in the development of an EA, § 651.47 and Appendix D of this part may be used as guidance. When considering the extent practicable of public interaction ( 40 CFR 1501.4(b)), factors to be weighed include:
(1) Magnitude of the proposed project/action.
(2) Extent of anticipated public interest, based on experience with similar proposals.
(3) Urgency of the proposal.
(4) National security classification.
(5) The presence of minority or economically-disadvantaged populations.
(c) Public involvement must begin early in the proposal development stage, and during preparation of an EA. The direct involvement of agencies with jurisdiction or special expertise is an integral part of impact analysis, and provides information and conclusions for incorporation into EAs. Unclassified documents incorporated by reference into the EA or FNSI are public documents.
(d) Copies of public notices, “scoping” letters, EAs, draft FNSIs, FNSIs, and other documents routinely sent to the public will be sent directly to appropriate congressional, state, and district offices.
(e) To ensure early incorporation of the public into the process, a plan to include all interested or affected parties should be developed at the beginning of the analysis and documentation process. Open communication with the public is encouraged as a matter of Army policy, and the degree of public involvement varies. Appropriate public notice of the availability of the completed EA/draft FNSI shall be made (see § 651.35) (see also AR 360-5 (Public Information)). The plan will include the following:
(1) Dissemination of information to local and installation communities.
(2) Invitation and incorporation of public comments on Army actions.
(3) Consultation with appropriate persons and agencies.
(f) Further guidance on public participation requirements (to potentially be used for EAs and EISs, depending on circumstances) is presented in Appendix D of this part.