Environmental Impact Statements

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Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)

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An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an environmental document required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment (42 USC §4332). An EIS will outline the positive and negative effects of a proposed action on the environment, and provide alternative actions to the proposed action described in the EIS. The USACE, Regulatory Division may be the lead Federal agency or a cooperating agency for compliance with NEPA. The lead Federal agency is generally the agency with the larger federal control over the proposed action. For actions in which the USACE, Regulatory Division is the lead Federal agency, an EIS would only be required for certain actions that require a standard individual permit (IP).

The decision to prepare an EIS is made based on whether the action would or could result in significant impacts to the human environment. In many cases this is soon after the receipt of a complete Department of Army (DA) permit application, although, in some cases, a determination may not be made until an environmental assessment is prepared, which occurs at the end of the standard permit process. All applicants will be informed on a determination that an EIS is necessary as soon as possible during the review period. It is important to note that most individual permit applications DO NOT require preparation of an EIS and are handled through the Environmental Assessment (EA)/Combined Decision Document (CDD) process.

What is NEPA?

NEPA requires federal agencies to consider environmental impacts of their actions in decision making. It is important to emphasize that a federal decision cannot be made until after the environmental review process is complete. Federal agencies’ analyses are published in a Draft EIS for public review and comment. Once the public’s comments have been reviewed, federal agencies prepare a Final EIS.

Per NEPA, an EIS assessing impacts of the proposed project on the quality of the human environment will be provided to the public for review and comment. The public will be notified when opportunities for comment arise. The Citizen’s Guide to NEPA explains this law and how to effectively submit your input.


Generally an EIS is prepared by a qualified environmental contractor chosen by the USACE, Regulatory Division, with the applicant responsible for the cost of preparation. When the USACE, Regulatory Division determines an EIS is necessary for a proposed action, the applicant will be notified in writing and requested to provide at least three (3) qualified third-party contractors who could prepare the EIS, in order of preference to the USACE, Regulatory Division. The contractor should have experience with NEPA and the USACE, Regulatory Division regulatory program. The USACE, Regulatory Division will choose the first qualified contractor on the list and notify the applicant of the choice. The USACE, Regulatory Division will work with the applicant and the contractor to prepare a Statement of Responsibilities and Scope of Work for the EIS preparation. As the lead Federal agency, the USACE, Regulatory Division is responsible for the preparation and content of the EIS to ensure an independent review. Although the applicant incurs the cost of the preparation of the EIS, the contractor is under the sole direction of the USACE, Regulatory Division, and will have limited interaction with the applicant.

Following selection of the third-party contractor, the USACE, Regulatory Division will initiate the scoping process by publishing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register (FR), and issue public notice. The NOI is intended to solicit from the public factors to consider in the EIS. Based on comments received during scoping, the EIS will be prepared by the contractor. When ready, the Draft EIS (DEIS) is released to the public through a Notice of Availability (NOA) published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The USACE, Regulatory Division will also publish a public notice for the proposed action and the DEIS, which will be sent to all adjacent property owners, interested agencies and the public, and will be posted on our website. The public will be given a specific period in which to comment on the DEIS. Following the close of the comment period of the DEIS, the Final EIS (FEIS) is completed based on comments received. The FEIS is then released to the public through a NOA published in the Federal Register by the USEPA and the USACE, Regulatory Division will publish a public notice. The public will be given a minimum of thirty days to comment on the FEIS. Following the close of the comment period on the FEIS, if all information has been received to make a permit decision, the USACE, Regulatory Division will prepare a Record of Decision (ROD) for the action. A public notice will be published following the completion of the ROD.

EIS Process and Opportunities for Public Comment

  1. Scoping Process: The scoping process consists of a 30-day scoping period to collect comments from the public, tribes, agencies, and others to consider throughout the EIS process. This input informs the analysis of potential effects, the suite of alternatives that meet the project’s purpose and need, and the criteria for evaluation and comparison of alternatives.
    1. Notice of Intent initiates scoping comment period.
    2. Scoping Meetings can be used to discuss comments.
  2. Draft EIS:
    1. Notice of Availability of Draft EIS and 45-day comment period
    2. Public Comments
  3. Final EIS
    1. Notice of Availability of Final EIS and 30-day waiting period
  4. Record of Decision
    1. The Corps will prepare a Record of Decision to document our decision on the permit application. The decision options available to the Corps are to issue, issue with modifications, or deny a Department of the Army permit for the proposed project.

Environmental Impact Statements Under Preparation

None at this time.

Environmental Impact Statements Completed