"Environmental assessment": (a) Means a concise public document for which a Federal agency is responsible that serves to:
1) Briefly provide sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact.
2) Aid an agency's compliance with the Act when no environmental impact statement is necessary.
3) Facilitate preparation of a statement when one is necessary. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1508.9
Best Practices in Lieu of EIA:
Who Conducts Screening Detail:
Criteria for Screening:
Proposed project or activity may cause significant environmental impact
Criteria for Screening Detail:
An environmental impact statement must be prepared for any major Federal action "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." 42 U.S.C. sec. 4332(C)
Who Prepares EIA:
Government (with or without contractor)
Who Prepares EIA Detail:
"An agency shall commence preparation of an environmental impact statement as close as possible to the time the agency is developing or is presented with a proposal . . . so that preparation can be completed in time for the final statement to be included in any recommendation or report on the proposal." 40 C.F.R. sec. 1502.5
EIA Contractor Qualifications:
Conflict of Interest Detail:
Contractors shall execute a disclosure statement prepared by the lead agency, or where appropriate the cooperating agency, specifying that they have no financial or other interest in the outcome of the project. If the document is prepared by contract, the responsible Federal official shall furnish guidance and participate in the preparation and shall independently evaluate the statement prior to its approval and take responsibility for its scope and contents. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1506.5(c)
Days for Decision Maker Review:
Written Decision Detail:
Agency must prepare a "record of decision." 40 C.F.R. sec. 1505.2
Expiry of Decision Detail:
The law and regulations do not specify the length of time that a record of decision is to remain valid. There are court decisions on the matter, but no consistent rule has been laid down.
Financial Assurances or Bond:
Financial Assurances Detail:
Bonds are not mandatory under NEPA and implementing regulations. In certain circumstances, other laws or regulations require financial assurances to be provided prior to commencing a project (e.g. mining projects).