32 CFR § 989.8 - Analysis of alternatives.

§ 989.8 Analysis of alternatives.

(a) The Air Force must analyze reasonable alternatives to the proposed action and the “no action” alternative in all EAs and EISs, as fully as the proposed action alternative.

(b) “Reasonable” alternatives are those that meet the underlying purpose and need for the proposed action and that would cause a reasonable person to inquire further before choosing a particular course of action. Reasonable alternatives are not limited to those directly within the power of the Air Force to implement. They may involve another government agency or military service to assist in the project or even to become the lead agency. The Air Force must also consider reasonable alternatives raised during the scoping process (see § 989.18) or suggested by others, as well as combinations of alternatives. The Air Force need not analyze highly speculative alternatives, such as those requiring a major, unlikely change in law or governmental policy. If the Air Force identifies a large number of reasonable alternatives, it may limit alternatives selected for detailed environmental analysis to a reasonable range or to a reasonable number of examples covering the full spectrum of alternatives.

(c) The Air Force may expressly eliminate alternatives from detailed analysis, based on reasonable selection standards (for example, operational, technical, or environmental standards suitable to a particular project). In consultation with the EPF, the appropriate Air Force organization may develop written selection standards to firmly establish what is a “reasonable” alternative for a particular project, but they must not so narrowly define these standards that they unnecessarily limit consideration to the proposal initially favored by proponents. This discussion of reasonable alternatives applies equally to EAs and EISs.

(d) Except in those rare instances where excused by law, the Air Force must always consider and assess the environmental impacts of the “no action” alternative. “No action” may mean either that current management practice will not change or that the proposed action will not take place. If no action would result in other predictable actions, those actions should be discussed within the no action alternative section. The discussion of the no action alternative and the other alternatives should be comparable in detail to that of the proposed action.

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