7 CFR § 1970.154 - Preparation of the EIS.

§ 1970.154 Preparation of the EIS.

(a) The EIS must be prepared in accordance with the format outlined at 40 CFR 1502.10.

(b) The EIS must be prepared using an interdisciplinary approach that will ensure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts. The disciplines of the preparers must be appropriate to address the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposal. This can be accomplished both in the information collection stage and the analysis stage by communication and coordination with environmental experts such as those at universities; local, state, and Federal agencies; and Indian tribes.

(c) The Agency will file the draft and final EIS with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Federal Activities.

(d) The Agency will publish in the Federal Register a Notice of Availability announcing that either the draft or final EIS is available for review and comment. The applicant must concurrently publish a similar announcement using one or more distribution methods as approved by the Agency in accordance with § 1970.14.

(e) Minimum public comment time periods are calculated from the date on which EPA's Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register. The Agency has the discretion to extend any public review and comment period if warranted. Notification of any extensions will occur through the Federal Register and other media outlets.

(f) When comments are received on a draft EIS, the Agency will assess and consider comments both individually and collectively. With support from the third-party contractor and the applicant, the Agency will develop responses to the comments received. Possible responses to public comments include: Modifying the alternatives considered; negotiating with the applicant to modify or mitigate specific project elements of the original proposal; developing and evaluating alternatives not previously given serious consideration; supplementing or modifying the analysis; making factual corrections; or explaining why the comments do not warrant further response.

(g) If the final EIS requires only minor changes from the draft EIS, the Agency may document and incorporate such minor changes through errata sheets, insertion pages, or revised sections to be incorporated into the draft EIS. In such cases, the Agency will circulate such changes together with comments on the draft EIS, responses to comments, and other appropriate information as the final EIS. The Agency will not circulate the draft EIS again; although, if requested, a copy of the draft EIS may be provided in a timely fashion to any interested party.