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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

CAA Section 309

Under Section 309 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is required to review and publicly comment on the environmental impacts of major Federal actions including actions which are the subject of draft and final Environmental Impact Statements, proposed environmental regulations, and other proposed major actions. If EPA determines that the action is environmentally unsatisfactory, it is required by Section 309 to refer the matter to the CEQ.

The major elements of the 309 review process include the following:

orgpinEPA reviews and comments on both the adequacy of the analysis and the environmental impacts of the proposed action itself.

orgpinEPA comments on issues related to its "duties and responsibilities," which include all environmental media (i.e., air, water, etc.), methodologies related to media-impact assessment, and areas related to its regulatory responsibilities.

orgpinEPA comments on potential violation of or inconsistency with national environmental standards and determines whether adequate information has been provided to assess potential environmental impacts of the proposed action.

orgpinIn general, the degree to which EPA gets involved in attempting to modify a proposed project depends on the level of environmental impacts, the ability and willingness of the proposing Federal agency to mitigate those impacts, and whether EPA is responsible for regulating the type of impact at issue.

orgpinIf the action is a Federal project to be located in or on a specific site, the appropriate EPA regional office has the jurisdiction and delegated responsibility for carrying out the Section 309 CAA review and working with the proposing Federal agency to resolve any problems. If the action by the proposing Federal agency is legislative or regulatory, generally the Section 309 CAA review will be conducted directly in EPA Headquarters.

orgpinFor Federal-project cases, EPA Headquarters becomes involved if the Region finds that the proposed action in the draft EIS is "environmentally unsatisfactory," or that the draft EIS is "inadequate" to assess the potentially significant environmental impacts of proposed actions. In addition, EPA Headquarters works with regional personnel in informing interested parties about the EPA action and will assist the Region in meeting with the proposing Federal agency to resolve the issues. The CEQ is always notified of a draft EIS which has been rated "unsatisfactory" or "inadequate" by EPA.

orgpinIf the Region finds that the subsequent final EIS is still "unsatisfactory", the Region recommends to the Administrator that the matter be referred to the CEQ for resolution. At this time, EPA Headquarters becomes involved in the factual determination and judgement on the EIS.

orgpinThe process is carried out so as to ensure the independence of the EPA review responsibilities and to coordinate in a manner which emphasizes consultation with the lead agency and informing interested parties of EPA actions and concerns.

For more information please submit all inquires to Mike Jansky at jansky.michael@epa.gov

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