32 CFR 651.48 - Scoping process.
(a) The scoping process (40 CFR 1501.7) is intended to aid in determining the scope of the analyses and significant issues related to the proposed action. The process requires appropriate public participation immediately following publication of the NOI in the FR. It is important to note that scoping is not synonymous with a public meeting. The Army policy is that EISs for legislative proposals significantly affecting the environment will go through scoping unless extenuating circumstances make it impractical. In some cases, the scoping process may be useful in the preparation of EAs and should be employed when it is useful.
(b) The scoping process identifies relevant issues related to a proposed action through the involvement of all potentially interested or affected parties (affected federal, state, and local agencies; recognized Indian tribes; interest groups, and other interested persons) in the environmental analysis and documentation. This process should:
(1) Eliminate issues from detailed consideration which are not significant, or which have been covered by prior environmental review; and
(2) Make the analysis and documentation more efficient by providing focus to the effort. Proper scoping identifies reasonable alternatives and the information needed for their evaluation, thereby increasing public confidence in the Army decisionmaking process.
(c) Proper scoping will reduce both costs and time required for an EA or EIS. This is done through the documentation of all potential impacts and the focus of detailed consideration on those aspects of the action which are potentially significant or controversial. To assist in this process the Army will use the Environmental Impact Computer System (EICS) starting in Fiscal Year (FY) 04, as appropriate. This system will serve to structure all three stages of the scoping process (§ 651.49, 651.50, and 651.51) and provide focus on those actions that are important and of interest to the public. While these discussions focus on EIS preparation and documents to support that process, the three phases also apply if scoping is used for an EA. If used in the preparation of an EA, scoping, and documents to support that process, can be modified and adopted to ensure efficient public iteration and input to the decision-making process.
(d) When the planning for a project or action indicates the need for an EIS, the proponent initiates the scoping process to identify the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts for consideration in the EIS (40 CFR 1508.25). The extent of the scoping process (including public involvement) will depend upon:
(1) The size and type of the proposed action.
(2) Whether the proposed action is of regional or national interest.
(3) Degree of any associated environmental controversy.
(4) Importance of the affected environmental parameters.
(5) Significance of any effects on them.
(6) Extent of prior environmental review.
(7) Involvement of any substantive time limits.
(8) Requirements by other laws for environmental review.
(e) The proponent may incorporate scoping in the public involvement (or environmental review) process of other requirements, such as an EA. In such cases, the extent of incorporation is at the discretion of the proponent, working with the affected Army organization or installation. Such integration is encouraged.
(f) Scoping procedures fall into preliminary, public interaction, and final phases. These phases are discussed in §§ 651.49, 651.50, and 651.51, respectively.