301 CMR 11.06 - ENF Review and Decision

(1) Publication and Review Period. Upon receiving and accepting the ENF, the Secretary shall publish the appropriate pages of the ENF in the next Environmental Monitor in accordance with 301 CMR 11.15(2), which begins the ENF review period. The ENF review period lasts for 30 Days, unless extended by the Secretary on account of the Proponent's failure to meet circulation or Public Notice requirements or with the consent of the Proponent. The review period for an expanded ENF requesting a single EIR, rollover EIR, or Special Review Procedure lasts for 37 Days, unless extended by the Secretary on account of the Proponent's failure to meet circulation or Public Notice requirements or with the consent of the Proponent.
(2) Consultation and Investigation. After receiving and accepting an ENF, the Secretary shall review the ENF and may review relevant information from any other source to determine whether to require an EIR, and, if so, what to require in the Scope. The Secretary shall ordinarily schedule with the Proponent a site visit and public consultation session to review the Project and discuss its alternatives, its potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures. The Proponent shall be required to provide accompanied public access to the Project site during the site visit and public consultation session, unless such access is infeasible for public safety reasons or protection of proprietary information. Any Agency or Person may inquire of the MEPA Office as to the date, time, and location of the consultation session. The Proponent shall consult with the MEPA Office about additional measures to be taken during the site visit and public consultation session to provide meaningful opportunities for public involvement by Environmental Justice Populations.
(3) Public Comment Period, Extensions, Late Comments. After receiving and accepting an ENF, the Secretary shall receive into the record written comments from any Agency or Person, concerning the Project, its alternatives, its potential environmental and public health impacts, mitigation measures, and whether to require an EIR and, if so, what to require in the Scope. Comments shall be filed with the Secretary within 20 Days following publication of the ENF in the Environmental Monitor, unless the public comment period is extended by the Secretary on account of the Proponent's failure to meet circulation or Public Notice requirements or with the consent of the Proponent. If the Proponent has filed an expanded ENF requesting a single EIR, rollover EIR, or a Special Review Procedure in accordance with 301 CMR 11.05(8), comments shall be filed within 30 Days following publication of the ENF in the Environmental Monitor, unless the comment period is extended by the Secretary on account of the Proponent's failure to meet circulation or Public Notice requirements or with the consent of the Proponent. An extension shall not ordinarily exceed 30 Days. The Secretary may accept a late comment, provided it is received prior to the Secretary's decision on the ENF.
(4) Agency Review An Agency shall review an ENF circulated to it by the Proponent. If it appears that the Project requires Agency Action by the Agency or may significantly affect any interest of the Agency or any statutes or regulations administered by the Agency, the Agency shall:
(a) participate in the consultation session scheduled by the Secretary in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(2) and file comments with the Secretary in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(3); and
(b) specify in its comments: any Agency Action required to be taken by the Agency for the Project; any aspect of the Project or issue requiring additional description or analysis in an EIR; and any opportunity to maximize consistency and facilitate coordination between the Agency Action and MEPA review or any other Agency Actions.

A Participating Agency's failure to specify an aspect of the Project or issue requiring additional description or analysis in an EIR shall have the effect of a determination that the information presented in the ENF, together with information already provided in any application for a Permit, Financial Assistance or a Land Transfer, sufficiently defines the nature and general elements (but not necessarily the technical details) of the Agency Action on the Project, such that the Participating Agency recommends that the Secretary require no further MEPA review or that the Scope not include any requirements relating to the aspect or issue.

(5) Secretary's Request for Copy of Application or Other Information. Upon request of the Secretary during the review period for an ENF, the Proponent shall file with the Secretary a copy of any application for a Permit, Financial Assistance, or a Land Transfer and any other information relevant to the Secretary's review of the Project, its alternatives, its potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures. Upon request of the Secretary, the Proponent shall make available a copy of any application for a Permit, Financial Assistance, or Land Transfer when the application is filed with a Participating Agency subsequent to the Secretary's decision on the ENF.
(6) Effect of Proponent's Failure to Cooperate. The Secretary and any Participating Agency may consider the Proponent's failure to participate in the ENF consultation session to be withdrawal of the ENF. The Proponent's failure to provide requested information may result in the Secretary requiring the Proponent to consider in an EIR the aspect of the Project or the issue about which information was requested, provided that the aspect or issue is within any applicable jurisdictional limitations in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(9)(b).
(7) Decision on ENF and Scope.
(a) After the close of the public comment period and on or prior to the last Day of the ENF review period, the Secretary shall issue a written certificate stating whether or not an EIR is required and, if so, what to require in the Scope in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(9). The Secretary's failure to issue a timely certificate shall have the effect of a determination that no EIR is required, unless the Project meets or exceeds one or more mandatory EIR review thresholds or an EIR is required in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(7)(b), in which case such failure shall have the effect of a determination that an EIR is required, and that it shall address all aspects of the Project that are likely, directly or indirectly, to cause Damage to the Environment, provided that such aspects are within any applicable jurisdictional limitations in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(9)(b). The Secretary's decision on the ENF shall be subject to the legal challenge periods in accordance with 301 CMR 11.14.
(b) The Secretary shall require an EIR for any Project that is located within a Designated Geographic Area around an Environmental Justice Population.
(8) Decision Allowing Single EIR. When issuing a Scope in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(7), the Secretary shall ordinarily require a draft and final EIR, but may allow a single EIR, provided that the Secretary finds that the expanded ENF requesting a single EIR in accordance with 301 CMR 11.05(8):
(a) describes and analyzes all aspects of the Project and all feasible alternatives, regardless of any jurisdictional or other limitation that may apply to the Scope;
(b) provides a detailed baseline in relation to which potential environmental and public health impacts and mitigation measures can be assessed;
(c) demonstrates that the planning and design of the Project use all feasible means to avoid potential environmental impacts; and
(d) for any Project for which an EIR is required in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(7)(b), describes and analyzes all aspects of the Project that may affect Environmental Justice Populations located in whole or in part within the Designated Geographic Area around the Project; describes measures taken to provide meaningful opportunities for public involvement by Environmental Justice Populations prior to filing the expanded ENF, including any changes made to the Project to address concerns raised by or on behalf of Environmental Justice Populations; and provides a detailed baseline in relation to any existing unfair or inequitable Environmental Burden and related public health consequences impacting Environmental Justice Populations in accordance with 301 CMR 11.07(6)(n)1.
(9) Limits on Scope.
(a) Potential Environmental Impacts. The Secretary shall limit the Scope to those aspects of the Project that are likely, directly or indirectly, to cause Damage to the Environment. The Scope shall enable Agencies to fulfill their obligations under 301 CMR 11.12(5).
(b) Subject Matter Jurisdiction. In the case of a Project undertaken by a Person that requires one or more Permits or involves a Land Transfer, but does not seek the provision of Financial Assistance, the Scope shall be limited to the direct and indirect potential environmental and public health impacts from those aspects of the Project that are within the subject matter of any required Permit or within the area subject to a Land Transfer, regardless of whether or not those aspects met or exceeded any review thresholds.
(c) Elements of Scope The Secretary shall determine the form, content, level of detail, and alternatives required for the EIR and may establish guidelines as to page length and time necessary for preparation. The Secretary may direct the Proponent to consult with any Participating Agency and describe in the EIR any opportunity to maximize consistency and facilitate coordination between any Agency Action and MEPA review or any other Agency Action.
(10) Environmental Mediation. The Proponent, an Agency, or a Person may conclude that environmental mediation, either alone or in addition to the preparation of an EIR, may be helpful in settling unresolved issues. The Secretary may assist parties in identifying the need for and sources of such services. This assistance shall not alter any of the review periods, deadlines, or other provisions or requirements of MEPA or 301 CMR 11.00, except with the consent of the Proponent.
(11) Suspended, Abandoned, or Changed Project. If a Proponent does not proceed with a Project or changes a Project after filing an ENF, the Proponent shall file a Notice of Project Change in accordance with 301 CMR 11.10.
(12) Notification to Department of Environmental Protection for Projects Located in Landlocked Tidelands. If the Project is located in landlocked tidelands as defined in 310 CMR 9.02: Definitions, then within 30 days after a certificate is issued determining that an ENF is adequate and no EIR is required or within 30 days after the Secretary issues a decision waiving the requirement to file an EIR, the Proponent shall file with the Department of Environmental Protection a completed form notifying the Department of Environmental Protection that work will be conducted within landlocked tidelands. The Proponent shall attach the certificate to the form. The Proponent shall comply with all obligations set forth in the certificate and the Department of Environmental Protection shall enforce such conditions consistent with M.G.L. c. 30, § 62I.
(13) Rollover EIR. For any Project that is required to file an EIR in accordance with 301 CMR 11.06(7)(b), and has submitted a dual Expanded ENF and Proposed EIR in accordance with 301 CMR 11.05(9), the Secretary may allow a rollover EIR, provided that the Secretary finds that the dual Expanded ENF and Proposed EIR:
(a) presents a complete and definitive description and analysis of the Project and its alternatives, and an assessment of its potential environmental and public health impacts and mitigation measures sufficient to allow a Participating Agency to fulfill its obligations in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30, §§ 61 and 62K and 301 CMR 11.12(5);
(b) demonstrates that the Project will not materially exacerbate any existing unfair or inequitable Environmental Burden and related public health consequences impacting an Environmental Justice Population, and will not result in a disproportionate adverse effect or increased climate change effects on an Environmental Justice Population;
(c) describes measures taken to provide meaningful opportunities for public involvement by Environmental Justice Populations prior to filing the dual ENF and Proposed EIR, including any changes made to the Project to address concerns raised by or on behalf of Environmental Justice Populations;
(d) shows that comments received on the dual ENF and Proposed EIR do not raise substantial issues not previously considered by the Proponent; and
(e) shows that no substantive issues remain to be resolved.
(14) A rollover EIR shall mean that the Secretary may:
(a) publish notice in the next Environmental Monitor that the Proposed EIR shall be reviewed as a final EIR; or
(b) require the Proponent to file responses to comments on the Proposed EIR together with Proposed Section 61 Findings, and direct that the responses and findings shall be filed, circulated, and reviewed as a final EIR in a subsequent Environmental Monitor.

Notes

301 CMR 11.06
Amended by Mass Register Issue 1459, eff. 1/1/2022. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1486, eff. 1/6/2023.

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