7 CFR 372.9 - Processing and use of environmental documents.
(a) Environmental assessments will be forwarded immediately upon completion to the decisionmaker for a determination of whether the proposed action may have significant effects on the quality of the human environment, and for the execution, as appropriate, of a finding of no significant impact or a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.
(1) The availability of environmental assessments will be announced by publishing a notice consistent with the notification provisions of § 372.8.
(2) Comments, if any, will be transmitted, together with any analyses and recommendations, to the APHIS decisionmaker who may then take appropriate action.
(3) Changes to environmental assessments and findings of no significant impact that are prompted by comments, new information, or any other source, will normally be announced in the same manner as the notice of availability (except that all commenters will be mailed copies of changes directly) prior to implementing the proposed action or any alternative.
(b) Environmental impact statements will be processed from inception (publication of the notice of intent) to completion (publication of a final environmental impact statement or a supplement) according to the Council on Environmental Quality implementing regulations.
(c) For rulemaking or adjudicatory proceedings, relevant environmental documents, comments, and responses will be a part of the administrative record.
(d) For all APHIS activity that is subject to the NEPA process, relevant environmental documents, comments, and responses will accompany proposals through the review process.
(e) The APHIS decisionmaker will consider the alternatives discussed in environmental documents in reaching a determination on the merits of proposed actions.
(f) APHIS will implement mitigation and other conditions established in environmental documentation and committed to as part of the decisionmaking process.