43 CFR 3430.3-2 - Environmental analysis.
(a) After the applicant has completed the initial showing required under § 3430.2 of this title, the authorized officer shall conduct an environmental analysis of the proposed preference right lease area and prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement on the application.
(b) The environmental analysis may be conducted in conjunction with and included as part of the environmental impact statement required for coal activity planning under § 3420.3-4 of this title.
(c) Except for the coal preference right lease applications analyzed in the San Juan Regional Coal Environmental Impact Statement (March 1984), the Savery Coal EIS (July 1983), and the Final Decision Record and Environmental Assessment of Coal PRLAs (Beans Spring, Table, and Black Butte Creek Projects) (September 1982), or covered by serial numbers C-0127832, C-0123475, C-0126669, C-8424, C-8425, W-234111, C-0127834, U-1362, NM-3099, F-014996, F-029746, and F-033619, the authorized officer shall prepare environmental impact statements for all preference right lease applications for coal for which he/she proposes to issue a lease, in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) The authorized officer shall prepare adequate environmental impact statements and other National Environmental Policy Act documentation, prior to the determination that commercial quantities of coal have been discovered on the lands subject to a preference right lease application, in order to assure, inter alia, that the full cost of environmental impact mitigation, including site-specific lease stipulations, is included in the commercial quantities determination for that preference right lease application.
(2) The authorized officer shall prepare and evaluate alternatives that will explore various means to eliminate or mitigate the adverse impacts of the proposed action. The impact analysis shall address each numbered subject area set forth in § 3430.4-4 of this title, except that the impact analysis need not specifically address the subject areas of Mine Planning or of Bonding. At a minimum, each environmental impact statement shall include:
(i) A “no action” alternative that examines the impacts of the projected development without the issuance of leases for the preference right lease applications;
(ii) An alternative setting forth the applicant's proposed action. This alternative shall examine the applicant's proposal, based on information submitted in the applicant's initial showing and standard lease stipulations;
(iii) An alternative setting forth the authorized officer's own proposed action. This alternative shall examine:
(A) The impacts of mining on those areas encompassed by the applicant's proposal that are found suitable for further consideration for mining after the unsuitability review provided for by subpart 3461 of this title; and
(B) The impacts of mining subject to appropriate special stipulations designed to mitigate or eliminate impacts for which standard lease stipulations may be inadequate. With respect to mitigation of significant adverse impacts, alternative lease stipulations shall be developed and preferred lease stipulations shall be identified and justified. The authorized officer shall state a preference between standard lease stipulations and special stipulations (performance standards or design criteria).
(iv) An exchange alternative, examining any reasonable alternative for exchange that the Secretary would consider were the applicant to show commercial quantities, and, in cases where, if the lands were to be leased, there is a finding that the development of the coal resources is not in the public interest.
(v) An alternative exploring the options of withdrawal and just compensation and examining the possibility of Secretarial withdrawal of lands covered by a preference right lease application (assuming commercial quantities will be shown) while the Secretary seeks congressional authorization for purchase or condemnation of the applicant's property, lease or other rights.
(3) The authorized officer shall prepare a cumulative impact analysis in accordance with 40 CFR 1508.7 and 1508.25 that examines the impacts of the proposed action and the alternatives when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, regardless of what agency (Federal or nonfederal) or person undertakes such other actions.
(i) The cumulative impact analysis shall include an analysis of the combined impacts of the proposed preference right leasing with the mining of currently leased coal and other reasonably foreseeable future coal development, as well as other preference right leasing in the area under examination.
(ii) The cumulative impact analysis shall also examine the impacts of the proposed preference right leasing in conjunction with impacts from non-coal activities, such as mining for other minerals, other projects requiring substantial quantities of water, and other sources of air pollution.
(4) When information is inadequate to estimate impacts reasonably, the authorized officer shall comply with the provisions of 40 CFR 1502.22(b).
(5) Each environmental impact statement shall be prepared in accordance with the Council of Environmental Quality's National Environmental Policy Act regulations, 40 CFR part 1500.