40 CFR § 1501.10 - Time limits.

§ 1501.10 Time limits.

(a) To ensure that agencies conduct NEPA reviews as efficiently and expeditiously as practicable, Federal agencies should set time limits appropriate to individual actions or types of actions (consistent with the time intervals required by § 1506.11 of this chapter).

(b) To ensure timely decision making, agencies shall complete:

(1) Environmental assessments within 1 year unless a senior agency official of the lead agency approves a longer period in writing and establishes a new time limit. One year is measured from the date of agency decision to prepare an environmental assessment to the publication of an environmental assessment or a finding of no significant impact.

(2) Environmental impact statements within 2 years unless a senior agency official of the lead agency approves a longer period in writing and establishes a new time limit. Two years is measured from the date of the issuance of the notice of intent to the date a record of decision is signed.

(c) The senior agency official may consider the following factors in determining time limits:

(1) Potential for environmental harm.

(2) Size of the proposed action.

(3) State of the art of analytic techniques.

(4) Degree of public need for the proposed action, including the consequences of delay.

(5) Number of persons and agencies affected.

(6) Availability of relevant information.

(7) Other time limits imposed on the agency by law, regulations, or Executive order.

(d) The senior agency official may set overall time limits or limits for each constituent part of the NEPA process, which may include:

(1) Decision on whether to prepare an environmental impact statement (if not already decided).

(2) Determination of the scope of the environmental impact statement.

(3) Preparation of the draft environmental impact statement.

(4) Review of any comments on the draft environmental impact statement from the public and agencies.

(5) Preparation of the final environmental impact statement.

(6) Review of any comments on the final environmental impact statement.

(7) Decision on the action based in part on the environmental impact statement.

(e) The agency may designate a person (such as the project manager or a person in the agency's office with NEPA responsibilities) to expedite the NEPA process.

(f) State, Tribal, or local agencies or members of the public may request a Federal agency to set time limits.