The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is one of the nation’s oldest environmental laws that encourages federal agencies to make environmentally responsible decisions. NEPA requires all federal agencies to consider and disclose the environmental effects of their proposed actions in an EIS. The Citizen's Guide to NEPA explains this law and how to effectively submit your input.
Per NEPA, an EIS assessing impacts of the proposed project on the human environment will be provided to the public for review and comment. The public will be notified when opportunities for comment arise. Currently, the Corps is in the “scoping” phase of the EIS. “Scoping” is an early step in the process when the public is invited to provide substantive information and identify issues and potentially significant effects to be considered in the EIS. The scoping phase is an important aspect of the EIS process, as collecting the right level of information at the right time is important to formulating action alternatives and identifying the depth and breadth of issues to be evaluated in the EIS. Early and frequent engagement of all affected federal, state and local agencies, Native American Tribes and interested groups and individuals is important to ensuring that the Corps captures in the scope of the EIS, those issues that are important to the public.
Public scoping comments help the Corps:
Define the breadth of environmental resources and affects to evaluate.
Identify alternatives to be considered.
Determine new sources of data or information.
Identify and eliminate from detailed study issues that are not significant or that have been covered by prior environmental review.
Examples of areas for evaluation in the EIS include: