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The NEPA Umbrella: Scoping Environmental Issues. Greg Holthoff NEPA Program Coordinator ODOT Geo-Environmental Section. Overview of Today’s Presentations. “Front End” of the Environmental Process NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) context

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the nepa umbrella scoping environmental issues
The NEPA Umbrella:Scoping Environmental Issues

Greg Holthoff

NEPA Program Coordinator

ODOT Geo-Environmental Section

overview of today s presentations
Overview of Today’s Presentations
  • “Front End” of the Environmental Process
    • NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) context
    • Scopingfor environmental compliance issues and actions
  • Environmental Disciplines*
  • FHWA Perspective on Environmental Compliance
  • NEPA Documentation for Categorical Exclusions

* These are just SOME of the environmental compliance disciplines that fall under the NEPA umbrella...

what is the national environmental policy act nepa
What is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)?
  • NEPA is a 1970 statute that requires Federal agencies to consider impacts on the environment from proposed actions and to disclose environmental impacts during project planning.
  • The NEPA process provides a comprehensive framework for compliance with other Federal, State, and local environmental statutory requirements (hence the term “NEPA umbrella”)
  • NEPA provides a forum for stakeholder (public and agency) involvement, as appropriate.
  • NEPA is a procedural law, meaning that a certain amount of process is required, but agency decisions are not mandated based upon least impact.

42 USC § 4332

why should we care about nepa
Why Should We Care About NEPA?
  • It’s Federal law and frequently litigated.
  • NEPA is the governing environmental decision-making process for proposed Federal actions.
  • NEPA compliance must be demonstrated before subsequent approvals or authorizations (e.g., Right-of-Way acquisition) will be made by FHWA.

NOTE: Permits do not equal NEPA, and NEPA does not equal permits.

slide5

NEPA “Umbrella”

NEPA

“Umbrella”

  • Farmland Protection Policy Act
  • National Historic Preservation Act Section 106
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund Act Section 6(f)(3)
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
  • Clean Air Act and amendments
  • Highway Noise Standards
  • Public Involvement Requirements
  • NEPA case law

In Oregon:

  • Land Use Actions / Goal Exceptions
  • Fish Passage Statute
  • Removal/Fill Law
  • AND MORE, including state and local requirements…
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
  • Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • E. O. 12898 (Environmental Justice)
  • Section 4(f) of 1966 U.S. DOT Act (49 USC 303)
  • Clean Air Act and amendments
  • Endangered Species Act Section 7
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  • Clean Water Act Section 401(b)
  • E. O. 11988 (Floodplain Management)
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
  • Clean Water Act Section 404
slide6

Federal Environmental Laws &E.O.s Affecting Transportation

70

EO13148

TEA-21

EO13186

EO13061

EO13112

60

EO13007

EO13089

SNRTA

SDWA

CAA

EO12898

CZARA

ISTEA

STURAA

ADA

50

URA

NAGPRA

EWRA

STURAA

HSWA

CWA

FPPA

SDWA

ANILCA

CBRA

40

ARPA

LAA

CUMULATIVE NUMBER OF LAWS AND AMENDMENTS

EO11990

CERCLA

CWA

EO11988

MSFCMA

CAA

SDWA

RCRA

30

CZMA

FNWA

WBA

ESA

RRA

CWA

EAA

URA

CAA

NEPA

20

FAHA

WSRA

4(f)

FAHA

HBA

FAHA

CAA

NHPA

AHPA

10

FIFRA

SWDA

FWCA

MBTA

CRA

AA

WA

RHAA

LWCF

CAA

HSBAA

0

1890

1900

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

YEAR

when does nepa apply
When Does NEPA Apply?
  • The proposed action has a Federal nexus; in our case, usually this is an FHWA (or FTA) nexus:
    • FHWA funding for any phase of the proposal
    • FHWA approval actions (e.g., interstate access)
  • NEPA may also apply for other jurisdictional authorities’ actions (e.g., Corps of Engineers, USFS), even with no FHWA nexus
  • It is rare when NEPA does not apply to projects listed in the Oregon STIP.
slide8

NEPA Regulatory and Guidance Hierarchy

NEPA Statute

Public Law No. 91-190

42 USC § 4332

CEQ NEPA Regulations

40 CFR 1500

FHWA / FTA NEPA Implementing Regulations

23 CFR 771

FHWA Oregon and ODOT NEPA Procedures

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/GEOENVIRONMENTAL/e_guide.shtml

FHWA Guidance for Preparing and Processing Environmental and Section 4(f) Documents

Technical Advisory T6640.8A

fhwa fta nepa classes of action
FHWA / FTA NEPA “Classes of Action”
  • Class 1 - Environmental Impact Statement
      • around 3% of ODOT STIP projects
  • Class II - Categorical Exclusion (CE)
      • around 92% of ODOT STIP projects
  • Class III - Environmental Assessment
      • around 5% of ODOT STIP projects

23 CFR 771.115

basic nepa process elements
Basic NEPA Process Elements
  • Scoping
  • Public and interagency involvement
  • Study environmental issues commensuratewithscopeandrisk
  • Develop alternatives that avoid impacts to the built and natural environment
  • Impact minimization and mitigation
  • Informed decision-making
nepa process by class of action
NEPA Process by Class of Action

Proposed Action

Coordination and Analysis

YES

NO

Significant Impact ?

Categorical Exclusion

Environmental

Impact Statement

Unknown

Significant

impact

(d)-list

CE

(c)-list

CE

Environmental

Assessment

Notice of Intent & Scoping Process

Draft EIS

Coordination and analysis as needed

No significant impacts

Public Comment

Document

appropriately

Final EIS

Finding of No

Significant Impact (FONSI)

Record of Decision (ROD)

Agency Action

Agency Action

Agency Action

slide12

Categorical Exclusion (CE)

  • CEQ - actions which donot individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment
  • FHWA - actions which meet the CEQ definition and, based on past experience with similar actions, do not involve significant environmental impacts or “unusual circumstances”
  • Neither an EA nor an EIS is required
  • Approximately 92% of ODOT projects are CEs

40 CFR 1508.4

23 CFR 771.117

slide13

Unusual Circumstances

  • No “Significant” environmental impacts, i.e.:
    • No significant impacts to planned growth or land use
    • No relocation of significant numbers of people
    • No significant impacts on any natural, cultural, recreational, historic or other resource
    • Would not involve significant air, noise, or water quality impacts
    • Would not have significant impacts on travel patterns
  • No substantial controversy on environmental grounds
  • No significant impacts on properties protected by Section 4(f) or NHPA Section 106
  • No inconsistencies with any Federal, State, or local law or requirement

23 CFR 771.117(a) & (b)

environmental process overview for ces
Environmental Process Overview (for CEs)

Project Development Timeframe

Environmental Review Process

Planning

  • identify critical environmental issues

Environmental (NEPA) Scoping

  • establish Area of Potential Impact (API)
  • identify all environmental issues and compliance requirements
  • identify probable class of action
  • Prepare Prospectus Part 3

Conduct environmental studies

  • as appropriate to scope of action
  • environmental resources inform design
  • coordinate with jurisdictional agencies

Obtain clearances / approvals

Document CE rationale

  • document environmental commitments
  • submit CE Closeout package
  • FHWA signature concludes CE process

Pre-STIP

Draft STIP

PDT Kick-Off

Prelim. Engineering

Design Acceptance

Final Plans

R/W Authorization or Construction Pre-Let

slide15

What is NEPA “Scoping”?

  • A continuation of early (Planning) coordination with public and agencies
  • Identify scope of project and study area(s)*
  • Identify “red flag” as well as minor issues
  • Identify compliance activities (e.g., permits) and their cost / timing
  • Allocate staff assignments
  • Identify probable NEPA Class of Action
  • Invite participation in NEPA process

40 CFR 1501.7

how do i perform nepa scoping
How Do I Perform NEPA Scoping?
  • Review the project history, including the STIP Scoping Summary Report and the Prospectus “Part 5” from Planning.
  • Use the Prospectus Part 3 Expanded Checklist as a topic / research guide.
  • Perform due diligence to determine specific environmental requirements and to program the necessary work into the project schedule.
  • Coordinate with internal and external stakeholders, as appropriate.
  • Prepare the Prospectus Part 3.
project prospectus part 3
Project Prospectus Part 3
  • The Part 3 is intended to identify:
    • critical environmental issues,
    • potential environmental effects by discipline,
    • necessary permits and approvals,, and
    • probable NEPA class of action.
  • Part 3s are no longer submitted to FHWA for signature, but are submitted as part of the documentation needed for FHWA to make a decision on CEs.
slide18
PROJECT PROSPECTUS

Part 3 Project Environmental Classification

Project Classification

Class 1 EIS

Class 2 CE

Class 2 PCE

Class 3 EA

Key Number:     Jurisdiction:     Project Name:     Bridge No.:     County:     Region:     Area:     District:     

1) Provide a brief description of the Project

USGS Quad Name, Township, Range, Section:

2) Estimated Right-of-Way Impacts (Including Easements, Number of Parcels, Acreage, and Improvements)

3) Estimated Traffic Volume, Flow Pattern and Safety Impacts (Including Construction Impacts, Detours, etc.)

4) Estimated Land Use and Socioeconomic Impact (Including Consistency with Comprehensive Plan)

5) Estimated Wetlands, Waterways and Water Quality Impacts

6) Estimated Biological & Threatened & Endangered Species Impacts:

7) Estimated Archaeology and Historical Impacts

8) Estimated Park, Visual Impacts and 4(f) Impacts

9) Estimated Air, Noise and Energy Impacts

10) Estimated Hazardous Materials Impacts

11) Preliminary Identification of Potential Areas of Critical Concern and Controversial Issues

12) Documentation / Permit Requirements

13) Estimated Pre-Construction Activity Impacts (drilling, survey work, etc)

14) Preliminary Identification of Public/Stakeholder Concerns

preparation of the part 3
Preparation of the Part 3
  • Read instructions found under “Region Environmental Coordination” at:
  • Project Delivery Work Planning (PDWP)
    • Part 3 / Environmental Workbook
  • Elements of the Part 3
    • Part 3 “short form”
    • Part 3 Expanded Checklist
    • Categorical Exclusion Checklist
  • Submit to ODOT Region Environmental Coordinator or Local Agency Liaison

www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/GEOENVIRONMENTAL/manual_procedures_practices.shtml

odot policy and guidance
ODOT Policy and Guidance
  • ODOT Geo-Environmental Section web page
    • http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/GEOENVIRONMENTAL/index.shtml

This is ODOT’s primary website for environmental guidance and procedures.

  • ODOT Geo-Environmental e-Guide
    • http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/GEOENVIRONMENTAL/e_guide.shtml

This site is oriented to NEPA compliance matters. This site and its subcomponents are still under construction.

  • ODOT Geo-Environmental REC e-Guide
    • http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/GEOENVIRONMENTAL/e_guide_rec_guide.shtml

This site contains guidance, forms, and protocols for NEPA Categorical Exclusions, including:

          • Links to project delivery guidance
          • Prospectus Part 3 information
          • CE documentation guidance and templates
fhwa nepa regulations and guidance
FHWA NEPA Regulations and Guidance
  • 23 CFR 771 - Environmental Impact and Related Procedures
  • FHWA Technical Advisory T6640.8A - Guidance for Preparing and Processing Environmental and Section 4(f) Documents
  • 23 CFR 774 - Section 4(f) Regulations
  • FHWA’s Environmental Guidebook - http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/guidebook/index.asp
  • FHWA’s Environment web site -

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/

the end
The End

Questions????

Questions????

Questions????

Greg Holthoff

ODOT NEPA Program Coordinator

greg_holthoff@odot.state.or.us

(503) 986-3428