|4.8 Environmental Impact Statements Public Involvement Requirements|
|Introduction | Criteria for Significant Impact | Ongoing or Continuing Action | Actions that Normally Require an EIS | EIS Format | The Final EIS | Supplements to Draft and Final EISs | Public Involvement Requirements | Administrative Process of Review of EISs | Terminating the EIS Process|
This section describes the minimum NPS public involvement requirements for an EIS. However, you are encouraged to be diligent and creative in your efforts to involve the public in your NEPA procedures and resource planning. Ways of involving the public include issuing quarterly newsletters to update the public on anticipated park actions and opportunities for involvement, using the Internet to facilitate the review of documents or have a dialogue with a commentor, and setting aside handouts or information for park visitors to keep them informed of planning efforts or chances to comment. Park staff often use park friends' groups to keep the public involved in decision-making that may have environmental consequences.
|Be diligent and creative in your efforts to involve the public in your NEPA procedures and resource planning.|
A. Notice of Intent
CEQ (1508.22) specifies that a notice of intent (NOI)
to prepare an EIS must be placed in the Federal Register. The notice must:
Scoping that has been conducted on an EA which then leads to an EIS does not usually substitute for the official required scoping of the EIS. However, if you stated in the public notice for scoping on the EA that an EIS might be prepared, and the NOI for the EIS indicates that comments on the scope of the alternative and impacts will continue to be considered, scoping for the EA may substitute for additional scoping of the EIS (Q13).
Instructions for Processing a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS (Get the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader 5.0 to read the document.)
Scoping is an early and open process to determine the scope of environmental issues and alternatives to be addressed in an EIS. You should conduct both internal scoping (see section 2.6) with appropriate NPS staff (including the IDT) and external scoping with the interested and affected public.
Scoping is done to:
C. Draft EIS Notice of Availability/Filing with EPA (see ECM 95-3)
NPS requires that draft EISs be available for public review for a minimum of 60 calendar days from the day the EPA Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register (1506.10). CEQ also requires that you file draft (and final) EISs with EPA (1506.9).
After the draft or final EIS is filed, EPA publishes a NOA in the Federal Register to inform the public that a draft or final EIS is ready for public review. In addition, you are required to file an NOA with the Federal Register at the same time you send the appropriate number of copies of the EIS to EPA. The publication of the EPA NOA in the Federal Register (and not the NPS notice) serves as the beginning of the 60-day public review period on the draft (and a 30-day waiting period before the record of decision is signed on the final).
The draft or final EIS must have been transmitted to all appropriate agencies, it must be available to the general public, and the NPS NOA must have been filed with the Federal Register before copies of the EIS are filed with the EPA.
(Note: ECM95-3 has been revised)
You must send a copy of the draft EIS to:
(a) all federal agencies that have jurisdiction by
law or special expertise, and all appropriate federal, state, or local
agencies or Indian tribes.
It is acceptable to send an electronic copy or make an electronic copy available if the person requesting has access to such a copy. After all printed copies have been distributed, persons requesting the EIS should be directed to the nearest library or government office that has a record copy
NPS provides a 60-day period for review of its draft EISs, beginning on the date when the EPA publishes its notice of availability in the Federal Register. Park offices are encouraged to take late comments if possible. The review period can be extended at the discretion of the responsible federal official with appropriate notification of the EPA (1506.10). The decision may be based on some or all of the following considerations:
You may also wish to collect comments that arrive a few days after the review period has ended without formally extending the period.
You may provide an opportunity for oral input on a draft EIS. If you choose to do this, the meeting/hearing should take place no sooner than 30 days from the time EPA's notice of availability is published. Under 1506.6, you are required to hold a public input session if:
(a) substantial environmental controversy over the
proposed action or substantial interest in holding the session exists.
The format may be a workshop, meeting, hearing, or other option, but attendees must be allowed to express reasonable substantive concerns with the draft EIS. Speakers may be limited to a certain number of minutes to ensure that all who wish to speak are heard in a reasonable amount of time. Attendees should be reminded that the purpose of the session is to collect input on the adequacy of the EIS and not to express preferences for or against the proposal. NPS may provide an opportunity for attendees to declare their support or opposition in writing at the public input session, or simply encourage participants to write during the remaining comment-and-review period.
The meeting should be advertised by a reliable method such as a purchased ad, direct mail, Internet electronic mail, notices posted in local gathering spots, or community or other organizations spreading the word. Press releases are published or aired at the discretion of the media, and are not considered as reliable or effective as an advertisement.
G. Final EIS NOA/Filing with EPA
When you have adequately responded to all comments received during the 60-day review and are ready to release the final EIS, you must file the final EIS with EPA and send an NOA to the Federal Register. As with the filing requirements for a draft EIS (see 4-8(C)), EPA will publish a separate NOA. Your park must wait at least 30 days from the time EPA publishes the NOA before a record of decision is signed. When a summary of the ROD, or the entire record, is published in the Federal Register, your park may begin to implement the selected alternative or approved plan.
You should send a full final EIS to:
(a) any individual or organization that has made a
It is acceptable to send an electronic copy or
make an electronic copy available if the person requesting has access
to such a copy. A summary of the final EIS may be sent to all others,
including those who received a full draft EIS but did not comment. After
all printed copies have been distributed, those requesting the EIS should
be directed to the nearest library or government office that has a record