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Environmental Assessments & Environmental Impact Statements

Want a copy of an Environmental Impact Statement?

EPA does not have copies of Environmental Impact Statements available for public distribution. Instead, we recommend that you:

  1. request a copy directly from the agency that prepared the EIS
  2. other ways to get a copy

Submitting an Environmental Impact Statement?

  1. Send copies to EPA Headquarters
  2. Also send 3 paper copies to the regional EPA NEPA Team Leader
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What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?

An EA as described in Section 1508.9 of CEQ'sNEPA Regulations is a concise public document which has three defined functions:

  1. it briefly provides sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an EIS;
  2. it aids an agency's compliance with NEPA when no EIS is necessary, i.e., it helps to identify better alternatives and mitigation measures; and
  3. it facilitates preparation of an EIS when one is necessary - Section 1508.9(a).

Since the EA is a concise document, it should not contain long descriptions or detailed data which the agency may have gathered. Rather, it should contain a brief discussion of the need for the proposal, alternatives to the proposal, the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives, and a list of agencies and persons consulted -- Section 1508.9(b). Agencies should make the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and EA available for 30 days of public comment before taking action -- Section 1501.4(e)(2). (March 16, 1981 – Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning CEQ's National Environmental Policy Act Regulations).


What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

An EIS is a detailed analysis that serves to insure that the policies and goals defined in NEPA are infused into the ongoing programs and actions of the federal agency. EISs are generally prepared for projects that the proposing agency views as having significant prospective environmental impacts. The EIS should provide a discussion of significant environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives (including a No Action alternative) which would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance the quality of the human environment. The standard format for the EIS as outlined in Section 1502.10 of the NEPA Regulations should be followed. Agencies should allow at least a 45-day comment period for draft EISs and a 30-day comment period for final EISs.

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