7 CFR § 520.3 - Policy.

§ 520.3 Policy.

(a) It is ARS policy to comply with the provisions of NEPA and related laws and policies.

(b) Environmental documents should be concise, written in plain language, and address the issues pertinent to the decision being made.

(c) Environmental documents may be substituted or combined with other reports which serve to facilitate decisionmaking.

(d) Costs of analyses and environmental documents are to be planned for during the budgetary process for the plan, program, or project. Special provisions for financing NEPA process activities which are unanticipated and extraordinary may be made in the Office of the Administrator of ARS.

(e) ARS personnel will cooperate with other agencies, States, contractors, or other entities proposing to undertake activities involving the ARS to assure that NEPA considerations are addressed early in the planning process to avoid delays and conflicts as required by 40 CFR 1501.2.

(f) For some activities, project participants outside ARS may be required to provide data and documentation. When an applicant or contractor prepares an environmental assessment (EA) or a contractor prepares an environmental impact statement (EIS), the activities shall be carried out according to 40 CFR 1506.5.

(g) Environmental documents, decision notices, and records of decision must be made available for review by the public. There shall be an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in the environmental analysis process (40 CFR 1501.7).

(h) The concepts of tiering to eliminate repetitive discussions applicable to EIS's (40 CFR part 1502) are also applicable to EA's.

(i) ARS personnel may adopt an existing EA or EIS when a proposed action is substantially the same as the action for which the existing EA or EIS was prepared (40 CFR 1506.3 (b)).

(j) ARS personnel may incorporate by reference any existing documents in order to reduce the bulk of an EA or EIS (40 CFR 1502.21).

(k) After prior consultation with the Council on Environmental Quality, ARS personnel may forego preparation of an EA or EIS in emergency situations (40 CFR 1506.11).