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Environmental Review Training for Special Appropriation Grants – Glossary

C

Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) - Categories of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect. See 40 C.F.R. § 1508.4. Note: A categorically excluded action is NOT eligible to be categorically excluded if extraordinary circumstances exist that may cause a significant environmental effect. Extraordinary circumstances are set out in EPA's NEPA rule at 40 C.F.R. § 6.204(b).

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Cross-Cutter Federal Laws and Executive Orders - Federal statues and implementing regulations that address the federal responsibility for protecting and conserving environmental resources. Typically, cross-cutters apply to all construction projects receiving federal funds, regardless of the agency providing those funds.

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Cumulative Impacts - The impact on the environment that results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (federal or non-federal) or person undertakes such actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over time. See 40 C.F.R. § 1508.7.

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D

Direct Effects - Direct effects are “caused by the action and occur at the same time and place” (40 C.F.R. § 1508.8) and are directly related to the project activity.

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E

Environmental Assessment (EA) - A concise public document prepared to provide sufficient data and analysis to determine whether to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). See 40 C.F.R. § 1508.9.

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Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - A detailed document prepared to analyze federal actions that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. An EIS provides the public and decision makers with detailed information and analyses of the environmental impacts of the proposed project. See 40 C.F.R. Part 1502.1

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Environmental Information Document (EID) - A written analysis prepared by the applicant that provides sufficient information for the Responsible Official to undertake an environmental review and prepare either an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) for the proposed action. An EID includes basic project information, including a description of the proposed project, and evaluates the environmental impacts of the project and alternatives to the proposed project. See 40 C.F.R. § 6.102(b)(4)

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Extraordinary Circumstances - Those circumstances that may cause a significant environmental effect such that a proposed action that otherwise meets the requirements of a categorical exclusion may not be categorically excluded. See 40 C.F.R. § 6.204.

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F

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) - A document briefly providing the reasons why a proposed action will not have a significant impact on the environment and for which an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will not be prepared.

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I

Indirect Effects - Indirect impacts are "caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable" (40 C.F.R. § 1508.8).

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N

Notice of Availability (NOA) - A notice placed in the newspaper and other appropriate communication channels that announces the availability of a Draft EIS or Final EIS for public review.

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Notice of Intent (NOI) - A notice placed in the Federal Register, notifying the public that a federal agency is considering taking a major federal action that may have a significant impact on the environment and for which an EIS will be prepared. The NOI describes the proposed action and possible alternatives and the proposed scoping process (including whether, when, and where scoping meetings will be held) and provides contact information. See 40 C.F.R. § 1508.22.

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R

Record of Decision (ROD) - A public document stating the final decision on a proposed action for which a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared. The ROD includes a brief description of the proposed action and alternatives considered in the EIS, environmental factors considered, and project impacts; any commitments to mitigation; an explanation if an environmental preferred alternative was not selected; and responses to any substantive comments on the Final EIS.

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