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. Collecting the right level of information at the right time is important to developing a project plan, requiring early and frequent engagement of all affected federal, state and local agencies, Native American Tribes and interested groups and individuals. “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 project’s EIS.
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.
In addition to Scoping, there will be other opportunities to comment (public meetings, website, letters, e-mails, etc.) and meet with the project team. Once we have a draft EIS, the public will be provided an opportunity to review and supply comments. The Corps will consider these comments when finalizing the EIS. The public will then be provided an opportunity to review the final EIS.
Examples of areas for evaluation in the EIS include: