The National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, requires federal agencies to assess the effect of its actions on the environment. The Commission typically does this through an environmental assessment (EA). If Commission staff determines that there would be a significant effect on the quality of the human environment, Commission staff must prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS).
- If the Commission determines that the environmental issues pertaining to the project are likely to be relatively minor, then it will prepare a non-draft (final) EA no later than 75 days after the close of the comment and reply comment period set forth by the notices of acceptance and ready for environmental analysis (REA).
- If the Commission determines that the environmental issues pertaining to the project are more complex, it will prepare a draft EA or EIS no later than 135 days after the notices of acceptance and REA.
The notice issuing the EA or EIS will specify when comments on the EA/EIS are due. The comment period varies between 30 and 60 days and depends on the complexity of the issues and analysis.
- Federal resource agencies may file modified terms and conditions. Modified terms and conditions are due 60 days after the close of the EA, draft EA, or draft EIS comment period.
- If the Commission issues a draft EA or EIS, it will issue a final EA or EIS within 90 days of the close of the period for filing modified terms and conditions.