EIA Country Report for United States

Legal Framework
State, Country or Province: 
United States
EIA law: 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347
EIA Regulations: 
Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (CEQ Regulations), 40 C.F.R. Part 1500
EIA Guidelines or Other Guidance: 
Council on Environmental Quality, Forty Most Asked Questions
EIA Procedure
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Government projects
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Private projects
Abridged Assessments: 
Yes
Assessments Detail: 
"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: 
No
Who Conducts Screening: 
Government
Who Conducts Screening Detail: 
40 C.F.R. sec. 1501.4
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
Who Pays for EIA: 
Government
EIA Contractor Qualifications: 
No
Conflict of Interest: 
Yes
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)
Terms of Reference (TOR): 
No
Days for Decisionmaker Review: 
30
Automatic Approval: 
No
Written Decision: 
Yes
Written Decision Detail: 
Agency must prepare a "record of decision." 40 C.F.R. sec. 1505.2
Authority to Impose Conditions: 
Yes
Authority to Impose Conditions Details: 
The agency shall include appropriate conditions in grants, permits or other approvals. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1505.3
Expiry of Decision: 
Indefinite
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: 
Sometimes
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).
EIA Content
Interdisciplinary Team: 
Yes
Interdisciplinary Team Detail: 
"Environmental impact statements shall be prepared using an inter-disciplinary approach which will insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts (section 102(2)(A) of the Act). The disciplines of the preparers shall be appropriate to the scope and issues identified in the scoping process. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1502.6
Range of Alternatives: 
Yes
Range of Alternatives Detail: 
Agencies shall rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives, and for alternatives which were eliminated from detailed study, briefly discuss the reasons for their having been eliminated. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1502.14
No Action Alternative: 
Yes
No Action Alternative Detail: 
40 C.F.R. 1502.14(d)
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Direct environmental impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Cumulative environmental impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Social impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Cultural impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Health impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Economic impacts
Mitigation: 
Yes
Mitigation Detail: 
An EIS must "[i]nclude appropriate mitigation measures not already included in the proposed action or alternatives." 40 C.F.R. 1502.14(f)
Monitoring Plans: 
Sometimes
Monitoring Plans Detail: 
Not required. Agencies "may" provide for monitoring to assure that their decisions are carried out and should do so in important cases. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1505.3
Access to Information
Public Notice of Draft EIA: 
Yes
Draft EIA Available: 
Yes
Draft EIA Available Detail: 
Agencies shall "circulate" the draft environmental impact assessment. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1502.19
Draft EIA Locations: 
Internet
Draft EIA Locations: 
Agency or ministry office
Public Notice of Final EIA: 
Yes
Public Notice of Final EIA Detail: 
Agencies shall "circulate" the final environmental impact assessment. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1502.19
Final EIA Available: 
Yes
Final EIA Locations: 
Internet
Final EIA Locations: 
Agency or ministry office
Fee to View EIA Documents: 
No
Fee to Obtain EIA Documents: 
No
Availability of Reference Studies: 
Yes
Availability of Reference Studies Detail: 
"No material may be incorporated by reference unless it is reasonably available for inspection by potentially interested persons within the time allowed for comment. Material based on proprietary data which is itself not available for review and comment shall not be incorporated by reference." 40 C.F.R. sec. 1502.21
Public Notice of Final Decision: 
Yes
Public Notice of Final Decision Detail: 
Agency must release a concise public record of decision. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1505.2
Public Participation
Public Scoping: 
Yes
Public Scoping Detail: 
"There shall be an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to a proposed action. This process shall be termed scoping."40 C.F.R. sec. 1501.7
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Scoping
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Review of draft EIA
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Public meetings and/or public hearings
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Review of final EIA
Public Meetings: 
Sometimes
Public Meetings Detail: 
Public meetings are held at the discretion of the agency overseeing the EIS process. Factors considered in determining whether to hold a hearing are 1) whether the project is controversial or 2) if there is significant public interest in the project. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1506.6(c)
Public Input at Meeting: 
Yes
Public Input at Meeting Detail: 
Agencies are required to "[r]equest comments from the public, affirmatively soliciting comments from those persons or organizations who may be interested or affected." 40 C.F.R. sec. 1503.1(4).
Days for Public to Review Draft EIA: 
30
Days for Public to Review Final EIA: 
30
Public Comments on Draft EIA: 
Yes
Public Comments on Draft EIA Detail: 
40 C.F.R. sec. 1503.1
Public Comments on Final EIA: 
Yes
Public Comments on Final EIA Detail: 
"An agency may request comments on a final environmental impact statement before the decision is finally made. In any case other agencies or persons may make comments before the final decision unless a different time is provided . . . ." 40 C.F.R. sec. 1503.1(b)
Response to Public Comments: 
Yes
Response to Public Comments Detail: 
Comments must be addressed in the following manner: modify alternatives in EIA; develop and evaluate new alternatives; supplement/improve analysis in the EIA; make factual corrections in EIA; or explain why the comment does not warrant a response. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1503.4
Facilitation of Public Participation: 
No
Judicial Review/Enforcement
Citizen Administrative Review: 
Yes
Citizen Administrative Review Detail: 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. sec. 551-559) allows administrative appeal of final agency actions. Most agencies have individual regulations that govern this process.
Citizen Judicial Review: 
Yes
Citizen Judicial Review Detail: 
Yes. Administrative Procedure Act.
Project Monitoring: 
Sometimes
Project Monitoring Detail: 
Agencies "may" provide for monitoring to assure that their decisions are carried out and should do so in important cases. 40 C.F.R. sec. 1505.2
Enforceability of EIA: 
No
Enforceability of Permit: 
No
   Updated 6 Jul, 2015