32 CFR 651.45 - Steps in preparing and processing an EIS.
(a) NOI. The NOI initiates the formal scoping process and is prepared by the proponent.
(1) Prior to preparing an EIS, an NOI will be published in the FR and in newspapers with appropriate or general circulation in the areas potentially affected by the proposed action. The OCLL will be notified by the ARSTAF proponent of pending EISs so that congressional coordination may be effected. After the NOI is published in the FR, copies of the notice may also be distributed to agencies, organizations, and individuals, as the responsible official deems appropriate.
(2) The NOI transmittal package includes the NOI, the press release, information for Members of Congress, memorandum for correspondents, and a “questions and answers” (Q&A) package. The NOI shall clearly state the proposed action and alternatives, and state why the action may have unknown and/or significant environmental impacts.
(3) The proponent forwards the NOI and the transmittal package to the appropriate HQDA (ARSTAF) proponent for coordination and staffing prior to publication. The ARSTAF proponent will coordinate the NOI with HQDA (ODEP), OCLL, TJAG, OGC, OCPA, relevant MACOMs, and others). Only the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (DASA(ESOH)) can authorize release of an NOI to the FR for publication, unless that authority has been delegated. A cover letter (similar to Figure 5 in § 651.46) will accompany the NOI. An example NOI is shown in Figure 6 in § 651.46.
(b) Lead and cooperating agency determination. As soon as possible after the decision is made to prepare an EIS, the proponent will contact appropriate federal, tribal, state, and local agencies to identify lead or cooperating agency responsibilities concerning EIS preparation. At this point, a public affairs plan must be developed. In the case of State ARNG actions that have federal funding, the NGB will be the lead agency for the purpose of federal compliance with NEPA. The State may be either a joint lead or a cooperating agency, as determined by NGB.
(c) Scoping. The proponent will begin the scoping process described in § 651.48. Portions of the scoping process may take place prior to publication of the NOI.
(d) DEIS preparation and processing. Prior to publication of a DEIS, the proponent can prepare a PDEIS, allowing for internal organization and the resolution of internal Army consideration, prior to a formal request for comments.
(1) PDEIS. Based on information obtained and decisions made during the scoping process, the proponent may prepare the PDEIS. To expedite headquarters review, a summary document is also required to present the purpose and need for the action, DOPAA, major issues, unresolved issues, major potential controversies, and required mitigations or monitoring. This summary will be forwarded, through the chain of command, to ODEP, the DASA(ESOH), and other interested offices for review and comment. If requested by these offices, a draft PDEIS can be provided following review of the summary. The PDEIS is not normally made available to the public and should be stamped “For Internal Use Only-Deliberative Process.”
(2) DEIS. The Army proponent will advise the DEIS preparer of the number of copies to be forwarded for final HQDA review and those for filing with the EPA. Distribution may include interested congressional delegations and committees, governors, national environmental organizations, the DOD and federal agency headquarters, and other selected entities. The Army proponent will finalize the FR NOA, the proposed news release, and the EPA filing letter for signature of the DASA(ESOH). A revised process summary of the contents (purpose and need for the action, DOPAA, major issues, unresolved issues, major potential controversies, and required mitigations or monitoring) will accompany the DEIS to HQDA for review and comment. If the action has been delegated by the ASA(I&E), only the process summary is required, unless the DEIS is requested by HQDA.
(i) When the DEIS has been formally approved, the preparer can distribute the DEIS to the remainder of the distribution list. The DEIS must be distributed prior to, or simultaneously with, filing with EPA. The list includes federal, state, regional, and local agencies, private citizens, and local organizations. The EPA will publish the NOA in the FR. The 45-day comment period begins on the date of the EPA notice in the FR.
(ii) Following approval, the proponent will forward five copies of the DEIS to EPA for filing and notice in the FR; publication of EPA's NWR commences the public comment period. The proponent will distribute the DEIS prior to, or simultaneously with, filing with EPA. Distribution will include appropriate federal, state, regional, and local agencies; Native American tribes; and organizations and private citizens who have expressed interest in the proposed action.
(iii) For proposed actions that are environmentally controversial, or of national interest, the OCLL shall be notified of the pending action so that appropriate congressional coordination may be effected. The OCPA will coordinate public announcements through its chain of command. Proponents will ensure that the DEIS and subsequent NEPA documents are provided in electronic format to allow for maximum information flow throughout the process.
(e) Public review of DEIS. The DEIS public comment period will be no less than 45 days. If the statement is unusually long, a summary of the DEIS may be circulated, with an attached list of locations where the entire DEIS may be reviewed (for example, local public libraries). Distribution of the complete DEIS should be accompanied by the announcement of availability in established newspapers of major circulation, and must include the following:
(1) Any federal agency that has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved and any appropriate federal, state, or local agency authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards.
(2) The applicant, if the proposed action involves any application of proposal for the use of Army resources.
(3) Any person, organization, or agency requesting the entire DEIS.
(4) Any Indian tribes, Native Alaskan organizations, or Native Hawaiian organizations potentially impacted by the proposed action.
(5) Chairs/co-chairs of any existing citizen advisory groups (for example, Restoration Advisory Boards).
(f) Public meetings or hearings. Public meetings or hearings on the DEIS will be held in accordance with the criteria established in 40 CFR 1506.6(c) and (d) or for any other reason the proponent deems appropriate. News releases should be prepared and issued to publicize the meetings or hearings at least 15 days prior to the meeting.
(g) Response to comments. Comments will be incorporated in the DEIS by modification of the text and/or written explanation. Where possible, similar comments will be grouped for a common response. The preparer or a higher authority may make individual response, if considered desirable.
(h) The FEIS. If the changes to the DEIS are exclusively clarifications or minor factual corrections, a document consisting of only the DEIS comments, responses to the comments, and errata sheets may be prepared and circulated. If such an abbreviated FEIS is anticipated, the DEIS should contain a statement advising reviewers to keep the document so they will have a complete set of “final” documents. The final EIS to be filed with EPA will consist of a complete document containing a new cover sheet, the errata sheets, comments and responses, and the text of the draft EIS. Coordination, approval, filing, and public notice of an abbreviated FEIS are the same as for a draft DEIS. If extensive modifications are warranted, the proponent will prepare a new, complete FEIS. Preparation, coordination, approval, filing, and public notice of the FEIS are the same as the process outlined for the DEIS. The FEIS distribution must include any person, organization, or agency that submitted substantive comments on the DEIS. One copy (electronic) of the FEIS will be forwarded to ODEP. The FEIS will clearly identify the Army's preferred alternative unless prohibited by law.
(i) Decision. No decision will be made on a proposed action until 30 days after EPA has published the NWR of the FEIS in the FR, or 90 days after the NWR of the DEIS, whichever is later. EPA publishes NWRs weekly. Those NWRs ready for EPA by close of business Friday are published in the next Friday's issue of the FR.
(j) ROD. The ROD documents the decision made and the basis for that decision.
(1) The proponent will prepare a ROD for the decision maker's signature, which will:
(i) Clearly state the decision by describing it in sufficient detail to address the significant issues and ensure necessary long-term monitoring and execution.
(ii) Identify all alternatives considered by the Army in reaching its decision, specifying the environmentally preferred alternative(s). The Army will discuss preferences among alternatives based on relevant factors including environmental, economic, and technical considerations and agency statutory missions.
(iii) Identify and discuss all such factors, including any essential considerations of national policy that were balanced by the Army in making its decision. Because economic and technical analyses are balanced with environmental analysis, the agency preferred alternative will not necessarily be the environmentally preferred alternative.
(iv) Discuss how those considerations entered into the final decision.
(v) State whether all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the selected alternative have been adopted, and if not, why they were not.
(vi) Identify or incorporate by reference the mitigation measures that were incorporated into the decision.
(2) Implementation of the decision may begin immediately after approval of the ROD.
(3) The proponent will prepare an NOA to be published in the FR by the HQDA proponent, following congressional notification. Processing and approval of the NOA is the same as for an NOI.
(4) RODs will be distributed to agencies with authority or oversight over aspects of the proposal, cooperating agencies, appropriate congressional, state, and district offices, all parties that are directly affected, and others upon request.
(5) One electronic copy of the ROD will be forwarded to ODEP.
(6) A monitoring and enforcement program will be adopted and summarized for any mitigation (see Appendix C of this part).
(k) Pre-decision referrals. 40 CFR part 1504 specifies procedures to resolve federal agency disagreements on the environmental effects of a proposed action. Pre-decision referrals apply to interagency disagreement on a proposed action's potential unsatisfactory effects.
(l) Changes during preparation. If there are substantial changes in the proposed action, or significant new information relevant to environmental concerns during the proposed action's planning process, the proponent will prepare revisions or a supplement to any environmental document or prepare new documentation as necessary.
(m) Mitigation. All measures planned to minimize or mitigate expected significant environmental impacts will be identified in the EIS and the ROD. Implementation of the mitigation plan is the responsibility of the proponent (see Appendix C of this part). The proponent will make available to the public, upon request, the status and results of mitigation measures associated with the proposed action. For weapon system acquisition programs, the proponent will coordinate with the appropriate responsible parties before identifying potential mitigations in the EIS/ROD.
(n) Implementing the decision. The proponent will provide for monitoring to assure that decisions are carried out, particularly in controversial cases or environmentally sensitive areas (Appendix C of this part). Mitigation and other conditions that have been identified in the EIS, or during its review and comment period, and made part of the decision (and ROD), will be implemented by the lead agency or other appropriate consenting agency. The proponent will:
(1) Include appropriate conditions in grants, permits, or other approvals.
(2) Ensure that the proponent's project budget includes provisions for mitigations.
(3) Upon request, inform cooperating or commenting agencies on the progress in carrying out adopted mitigation measures that they have proposed and that were adopted by the agency making the decision.
(4) Upon request, make the results of relevant monitoring available to the public and Congress.
(5) Make results of relevant monitoring available to citizens advisory groups, and others that expressed such interest during the EIS process.