40 CFR § 1501.2 - Apply NEPA early in the process.

§ 1501.2 Apply NEPA early in the process.

(a) Agencies should integrate the NEPA process with other planning and authorization processes at the earliest reasonable time to ensure that agencies consider environmental impacts in their planning and decisions, to avoid delays later in the process, and to head off potential conflicts.

(b) Each agency shall:

(1) Comply with the mandate of section 102(2)(A) of NEPA to utilize a systematic, interdisciplinary approach which will ensure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts in planning and in decision making which may have an impact on man's environment, as specified by § 1507.2(a) of this chapter.

(2) Identify environmental effects and values in adequate detail so the decision maker can appropriately consider such effects and values alongside economic and technical analyses. Whenever practicable, agencies shall review and publish environmental documents and appropriate analyses at the same time as other planning documents.

(3) Study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal that involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources as provided by section 102(2)(E) of NEPA.

(4) Provide for actions subject to NEPA that are planned by private applicants or other non-Federal entities before Federal involvement so that:

(i) Policies or designated staff are available to advise potential applicants of studies or other information foreseeably required for later Federal action.

(ii) The Federal agency consults early with appropriate State, Tribal, and local governments and with interested private persons and organizations when their involvement is reasonably foreseeable.

(iii) The Federal agency commences its NEPA process at the earliest reasonable time (§§ 1501.5(d) and 1502.5(b) of this chapter).