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Title 39Chapter ISubchapter K → Part 775

Title 39: Postal Service


§775.1   Purpose.
§775.2   Policy.
§775.3   Responsibilities.
§775.4   Definitions.
§775.5   Classes of actions.
§775.6   Categorical exclusions.
§775.7   Planning and early coordination.
§775.8   Environmental evaluation guidelines.
§775.9   Environmental evaluation process.
§775.10   Environmental assessments.
§775.11   Environmental impact statements.
§775.12   Time frames for environmental impact statement actions.
§775.13   Public notice and information.
§775.14   Hearings.

Authority: 39 U.S.C. 401; 42 U.S.C.4321 et seq.; 40 CFR 1500.4.

Source: 44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979, unless otherwise noted.

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§775.1   Purpose.

These procedures implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations (40 CFR part 1500) issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

[63 FR 45719, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.2   Policy.

It is the policy of the Postal Service to:

(a) Interpret and administer applicable policies, regulations, and public laws of the United States in accordance with the policies set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended, and the NEPA Regulations.

(b) Make the NEPA process useful to Postal Service decision makers and the public.

(c) Emphasize environmental issues and alternatives in the consideration of proposed actions.

(d) Encourage and facilitate public involvement in decisions which affect the quality of the human environment.

(e) Use the NEPA process to identify and assess reasonable alternatives to proposed actions in order to avoid or minimize adverse effects on the environment.

(f) Use all practicable means to protect, restore, and enhance the quality of the human environment.

(g) Reduce paperwork.

(h) Reduce delay.

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§775.3   Responsibilities.

(a) The Chief Environmental Officer is responsible for overall development of policy regarding NEPA and other environmental policies. The officer in charge of the facilities or real estate organization is responsible for the development of NEPA policy as it affects real estate or acquisition, construction and disposal of postal facilities consistent with overall NEPA policy. Each officer with responsibility over the proposed program, project, action, or facility is responsible for compliance with NEPA as the responsible official.

(b) Postal managers will designate environmental coordinators to assist with compliance with NEPA procedures.

[63 FR 45719, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.4   Definitions.

(a) The definitions set forth in 40 CFR part 1508 apply to this part 775.

(b) In addition to the terms defined in 40 CFR part 1508, the following definitions apply to this part:

Approving official means the person or group of persons, who authorizes funding as established through the delegations of approval authority issued by the finance organization. That person or group of persons may not have proposed the action for which financial approval is sought.

Environmental checklist means a Postal Service form that identifies potential environmental impacts for proposed actions initiated by postal managers.

Mitigated FONSI means a FONSI which requires the implementation of specified mitigation measures in order to ensure that there are no significant impacts to the environment.

Record of environmental consideration means the Postal Service form that identifies the Postal Service's review of proposed activities under NEPA.

Responsible official means the person, or designated representative, who proposes an action and is responsible for compliance with NEPA. For larger projects, that person may not have the financial authority to approve such action. The responsible official signs the NEPA documents (FONSI, ROD) and the REC.

[63 FR 45719, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.5   Classes of actions.

(a) Actions which normally require an environment impact statement. None, however the Postal Service will prepare an EIS when necessary based on the factors identified in 40 CFR 1508.27.

(b) Actions requiring an environmental assessment. Classes of actions that will require an environmental assessment unless categorically excluded include:

(1) Any project that includes the conversion, purchase, or any other alteration of the fuel source for 25 percent or more of USPS vehicles operating with fuel other than diesel or gasoline in any carbon monoxide or ozone non-attainment area;

(2) Any action that would adversely affect a federally listed threatened or endangered species or its habitat;

(3) Any action that would directly affect public health;

(4) Any action that would require development within park lands, or be located in close proximity to a wild or scenic river or other ecologically critical area;

(5) Any action affecting the quality of the physical environment that would be scientifically highly controversial;

(6) Any action that may have highly uncertain or unknown risks on the human environment;

(7) Any action that threatens a violation of applicable federal, state, or local law or requirements imposed for the protection of the environment;

(8) New construction of a facility with vehicle maintenance or fuel dispensing capabilities, whether owned or leased;

(9) Acquisition or lease of an existing building involving new uses or a change in use to a greater environmental intensity;

(10) Real property disposal involving a known change in use to a greater environmental intensity;

(11) Postal facility function changes involving new uses of greater environmental intensity;

(12) Reduction in force involving more than 1000 positions;

(13) Relocation of 300 or more employees more than 50 miles;

(14) Initiation of legislation.

[63 FR 45719, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.6   Categorical exclusions.

(a) The classes of actions in this section are those that the Postal Service has determined do not individually or cumulatively have a significant impact on the human environment. To be categorically excluded, it must be determined that a proposed action fits within a class listed and there are no extraordinary circumstances that may affect the significance of the proposal. The action must not be connected to other actions with potentially significant impacts or is not related to other proposed actions with potentially significant impacts. Extraordinary circumstances are those unique situations presented by specific proposals, such as scientific controversy about the environmental impacts of the proposal, uncertain effects or effects involving unique or unknown risks.

(b) Categorical exclusions relating to general agency actions:

(1) Policy development, planning and implementation that relate to routine activities such as personnel, organizational changes or similar administrative functions.

(2) Routine actions, including the management of programs or activities necessary to support the normal conduct of agency business, such as administrative, financial, operational and personnel action that involve no commitment of resources other than manpower and funding allocations.

(3) Award of contracts for technical support services, management and operation of a government owned facility, and personal services.

(4) Research activities and studies and routine data collection when such actions are clearly limited in context and intensity.

(5) Educational and informational programs and activities.

(6) Reduction in force resulting from workload adjustments, reduced personnel or funding levels, skill imbalances or other similar causes that do not affect more than 1,000 positions.

(7) Postal rate or mail classification actions, address information system changes, post office name and zip code changes.

(8) Property protection, law enforcement and other legal activities undertaken by the Postal Inspection Service, the Law Department, the Judicial Officer, and the Inspector General.

(9) Activities related to trade representation and market development activities abroad.

(10) Emergency preparedness planning activities, including designation of on-site evacuation routes.

(11) Minor reassignment of motor vehicles and purchase or deployment of motor vehicles to new locations that do not adversely impact traffic safety, congestion or air quality.

(12) Procurement or disposal of mail handling or transport equipment.

(13) Acquisition, installation, operation, removal or disposal of communication systems, computers and data processing equipment.

(14) Postal facility function changes not involving construction, where there are no substantial relocation of employees, or no substantial increase in the number of motor vehicles at a facility.

(15) Closure or consolidation of post offices under 39 U.S.C. 404(d).

(16) Minor operational changes at an existing facility to minimize waste generation and for reuse of materials. These changes include but are not limited to, adding filtration and recycling systems to allow reuse of vehicle or machine oil, setting up sorting areas to improve process efficiency, and segregating waste streams previously mingled and assigning new identification codes to the two resulting streams.

(17) Actions which have an insignificant effect upon the environment as established in a previously written Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Such repetitive actions shall be considered “reference actions” and a record of all decisions concerning these “reference actions” shall be maintained by the Chief Environmental Officer or designee. The proposed action must be essentially the same in context and the same or less in intensity or create fewer impacts than the “reference action” previously studied under an EA or EIS in order to qualify for this exclusion.

(18) Rulemakings that are strictly procedural, and interpretations and rulings with existing regulations, or modifications or rescissions of such interpretations and rulings.

(c) Categorical exclusions relating to emergency or restoration actions:

(1) Any cleanup, remediation or removal action conducted under the provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), any asbestos abatement actions regulated under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), or the Clean Air Act or any PCB transformer replacement or any lead based paint abatement actions regulated under the provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), OSHA or RCRA.

(2) Testing associated with environmental cleanups or site investigations.

(d) Categorical exclusions relating to maintenance or repair actions at existing facilities:

(1) Siting, construction or operation of temporary support buildings or support structures.

(2) Routine maintenance and minor activities, such as fencing, that occur in floodplains or state and local wetlands or pursuant to the nationwide, regional or general permitting process of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

(3) Routine actions normally conducted to protect and maintain properties and which do not alter the configuration of the building.

(4) Changes in configuration of buildings required to promote handicapped accessibility pursuant to the Architectural Barriers Act.

(5) Repair to, or replacement in kind or equivalent of building equipment or components (e.g., electrical distribution, HVAC systems, doors, windows, roofs, etc.).

(6) Internal modifications or improvements to structure, or buildings to accommodate mail processing, computer, communication or other similar types of equipment or other actions which do not involve modification to the external walls of the facility.

(7) Joint development and/or joint use projects that only involve internal modifications to an existing facility.

(8) Noise abatement measures, such as construction of noise barriers and installation of noise control materials.

(9) Actions which require concurrence or approval of another federal agency where the action is a categorical exclusion under the NEPA regulations of that federal agency.

(e) Categorical exclusions relating to real estate actions.

(1) Obtaining, granting, disposing, or changing of easements, licenses and permits, rights-of-way and similar interests.

(2) Extension, renewal, renegotiation, or termination of existing lease agreements.

(3) Purchase of Postal Service occupied leased property where the planned postal uses do not differ significantly from the past uses of the site.

(4) Acquisition or disposal of existing facilities and real property where the planned uses do not differ significantly from past uses of the site.

(5) Acquisition of real property not connected to specific facility plans or when necessary to protect the interests of the Postal Service in advance of final project approval. This categorical exclusion only applies to the acquisition. Any subsequent use of the site for a facility project must be considered under this part.

(6) Disposal through sale or outlease of unimproved real property.

(7) Disposal through sale, outlease, transfer or exchange of real property to other federal or state agencies.

(8) Disposal of properties where the size, area, topography, and zoning are similar to existing surrounding properties and/or where current and reasonable anticipated uses are or would be similar to current surrounding uses (e.g., commercial store in a commercial strip, warehouse in an urban complex, office building in downtown area, row house or vacant lot in an urban area).

(9) Acquisition and disposal through sale, lease, transfer, reservation or exchange of real property for nature and habitat preservation, conservation, a park or wildlife management.

(10) New construction, Postal Service owned or leased, or joint development and joint use projects, of any facility unless the proposed action is listed as requiring an EA in §775.5.

(11) Expansion or improvement of an existing facility where the expansion is within the boundaries of the site or occurs in a previously developed area unless the proposed action is listed as requiring an EA in §775.5.

(12) Construction and disturbance pursuant to a nationwide, regional or general permit issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

(13) Any activity in floodplains being regulated pursuant to §775.6 and is not listed as requiring an EA in §775.5.

[63 FR 45720, Aug. 27, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 53057, Aug. 25, 2011; 79 FR 2103, Jan. 13, 2014; 79 FR 33097, June 10, 2014]

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§775.7   Planning and early coordination.

Early planning and coordination among postal functional groups is required to properly consider environmental issues that may be attributable to the proposed action. Operational and facility personnel must cooperate in the early concept stages of a program or project. If it is determined that more than one postal organization will be involved in any action, a lead organization will be selected to complete the NEPA process before any NEPA documents are prepared. If it is determined that a project has both real estate and non-real estate actions, the facilities functional organization will take the lead.

[63 FR 45721, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.8   Environmental evaluation guidelines.

(a) Approach. When dealing with proposals which may have an impact on the human environment, environmental coordinators, planners, decision makers, and other officials responsible for actions, will, as appropriate:

(1) Use a systematic approach that integrates natural and social sciences and environmental design in planning and making decisions.

(2) Identify environmental effects and values in detail, and appraise them in conjunction with economic and technical analyses.

(3) Consider environmental documents at all decision points at which other planning documents are considered. (Plans and decisions are to reflect environmental values. Proposed actions should be assessed as soon as their effects can be meaningfully evaluated, to provide the bases for early decision on whether detailed environmental impact statements must be prepared.)

(4) Study, develop, describe, and evaluate at all decision points, reasonable alternatives to recommended actions which may have a significant effect on the environment.

(b) Proposal requirements. When an environmental impact statement has been prepared, it must accompany the proposal through and be used in the decision-making process. Any other proposal must refer to applicable environmental documents (e.g., determination of categorical exclusion; finding of no significant impact; notice of intent to prepare an impact statement), and relevant comments and responses.

(c) Lead agency arrangements. If the Postal Service and another Federal agency become involved in a lead agency arrangement for the preparation of an environmental impact statement, the Service will cooperate fully.

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979. Redesignated at 63 FR 45719, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.9   Environmental evaluation process.

(a) All actions—(1) Assessment of actions. An environmental checklist may be used to support a record of environmental consideration as the determination that the proposed action does not require an environmental assessment. An environmental assessment must be prepared for each proposed action except that an assessment need not be made if a determination is made that:

(i) The action is one of a class listed in §775.6, Categorical Exclusions, and

(ii) The action is not affected by extraordinary circumstances which may cause it to have a significant environmental effect, or

(iii) The action is a type that is not a major federal action with a significant impact upon the environment.

(2) Findings of no significant impact. If an environmental assessment indicates that there is no significant impact of a proposed action on the environment, an environmental impact statement is not required. A “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI) is prepared and published in accordance with §775.13. When the proposed action is approved, it may be accomplished without further environmental consideration. A FONSI document briefly presents the reasons why an action will not have a significant effect on the human environment and states that an environmental impact statement will not be prepared. It must refer to the environmental assessment and any other environmentally pertinent documents related to it. The assessment may be included in the finding if it is short, in which case the discussion in the assessment need not be repeated in the finding. The FONSI may be a mitigated FONSI in which case the required mitigation factors should be listed in the FONSI. The use of a mitigated FONSI is conditioned upon the implementation of the identified mitigation measures in the EA that support the FONSI. Unless the mitigation measures are implemented by the responsible official, the use of an EA in lieu of an EIS is not acceptable.

(3) Impact statement preparation decision and notices. If an environmental assessment indicates that a proposed major action would have a significant impact on the environment, a notice of intent to prepare an impact statement is published (see §775.13) and an environmental impact statement is prepared.

(4) Role of impact statement in decision making. An environmental impact statement is used, with other analyses and materials, to decide which alternative should be pursued, or whether a proposed action should be abandoned or other courses of action pursued. See §775.12 for restrictions on the timing of this decision.

(5) Record of decision. For actions requiring environmental impact statements, a concise public record of decision is prepared when a decision, or a proposal for legislation, is made. The record, which may be integrated into any other record, or notice, including that required by Postal Service regulations and procedures governing intergovernmental review of Postal Service facility project actions, must:

(i) State what the decision was.

(ii) Identify all alternatives considered in reaching a decision, specifying alternatives considered to be environmentally preferable; identify and discuss all significant factors, including any essential considerations of national policy, which were weighed in making the decision and state how those considerations entered into the decision.

(iii) State whether all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the alternative selected have been or will be adopted, and if not, why not.

(6) Actions prohibited prior to issuance of record of decision. Until a record of decision is issued, no action may be taken on a proposal on which an environmental impact statement is made if the action would:

(i) Have an adverse environmental impact, or

(ii) Limit the choice of reasonable alternatives.

(7) Mitigation measures. Practicable mitigation measures identified in an environmental assessment must be implemented. Mitigation measures described in an environmental impact statement and accepted in a decision must be implemented. Upon request, the Postal Service informs federal, state, and local agencies and the public of the progress in carrying out adopted mitigation measures.

(b) Additional requirements for facility actions. (1) The environmental assessment of any action which involves the construction or acquisition of a new mail processing facility must include reasonable alternatives to the proposed action and not just consideration of contending sites for a facility. This process must be started early in the planning of the action. An environmental assessment report, however, is not required until the contending project sites have been determined. The information contained in the environmental assessment report must be used, together with other site planning information, in the selection of the final site.

(2) When an environmental assessment indicates that an environmental impact statement may be needed for a proposed facility action, the responsible officer will make the decision whether to prepare an environmental impact statement for presentation to the Capital Investment Committee, and to the Board of Governors if the Board considers the proposal.

(3) If an environmental impact statement is presented to the Committee or the Board, and an analysis indicates that it would be more cost-effective to proceed immediately with continued control of sites, (including advance acquisition, if necessary, and where authorized by postal procedures), environmental impact statement preparation, and project designs, a budgetary request will include authorization of funds to permit:

(i) The preparation of an impact statement encompassing all reasonable alternatives and site alternatives,

(ii) The continued control of specified competing sites (including advance acquisition, if necessary, and where authorized by postal procedures), chosen to preserve environmental or other options, and

(iii) The development of limited designs of facilities for each competing site.

(4) A completed environmental impact statement will be presented to the Capital Investment Committee, and to the Board of Governors if the Board considers the proposal, for use in deciding whether a proposed project should proceed, be restudied, or be abandoned. If the decision is to proceed with a proposed project, the Committee, or the Board if it considers the proposal, decides which alternative site is to be used for project development, and authorizes the project.

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979, as amended at 48 FR 29378, June 24, 1983; 50 FR 32411, Aug. 12, 1985; 50 FR 33036, Aug. 16, 1985; 55 FR 10454, Mar. 21, 1990. Redesignated and amended at 63 FR 45719, 45721, Aug. 27, 1998; 65 FR 41012, July 3, 2000]

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§775.10   Environmental assessments.

(a) An environmental assessment must contain:

(1) A summary of major considerations and conclusions,

(2) A description of the proposed action,

(3) For each reasonable alternative, a description of the affected environment, the environmental consequences, the mitigation measures, if any, and a comparison to all alternatives considered.

(4) A list of applicable environmental permits necessary to complete the proposed action.

(b) Those preparing an environmental assessment must solicit information and views from Federal, State, and local agencies and, where there is a substantial likelihood of significant effects on the environment, the public. All responsible views and information must be considered.

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979. Redesignated and amended at 63 FR 45719, 45722, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.11   Environmental impact statements.

(a) Determining scope. Before an environmental impact statement is prepared, the following procedures must be followed to determine what issues are to be addressed and in what depth:

(1) Affected Federal, State, and local agencies and other interested persons are invited to participate by furnishing written views and information, or at a hearing if appropriate. Notice is given in accordance with §775.13.

(2) The significance of issues to be analyzed in depth in the environmental impact statement is determined through consideration of:

(i) Actions which are closely related, or similar, or have cumulative significant impacts.

(ii) Alternatives, which must include the “no action” alternative, other reasonable courses of action, and mitigation measures.

(iii) Impacts, which may be direct, indirect, or cumulative.

(3) Issues which are not significant are identified and eliminated.

(4) The determinations made must be revised if substantial changes are made later in the proposed action, or if significant new circumstances or information arise which bear on the proposal or its impacts.

(b) Preparation. (1) Except for proposals for legislation, environmental impact statements are prepared in two stages:

(i) Draft environmental impact statement, prepared in accordance with the scope decided upon under paragraph (a) of this section.

(ii) Final environmental impact statement, responding to comments on the draft statement and discussing and responding to any responsible opposing view which was not adequately discussed in the draft statement.

(2) Environmental impact statements must:

(i) Be analytic rather than encyclopedic.

(ii) Contain discussions of impacts in proportion to their significance. Insignificant impacts eliminated during the process under §775.11(a) to determine the scope of issues must be discussed only to the extent necessary to state why they will not be significant.

(iii) Be concise, and not longer than is necessary to comply with NEPA. They must not contain repeated statements of the same basic points.

(iv) Contain discussions of alternatives considered and of how alternatives chosen will meet the requirements of NEPA and other environmental laws and policies.

(v) Encompass the range of alternatives to be considered by the decision makers.

(vi) Serve to assess the environmental impact of proposed actions, rather than to justify decisions already made.

(3) The text of final environmental impact statements normally should be less than 150 pages. Statements on proposals of unusual scope or complexity normally should be less than 300 pages.

(4) Staged or “tiered” environmental impact statements must not contain repetitive discussions of the same issues. Each document must state where each earlier document is available.

(5) Material may be incorporated into an environmental impact statement by reference only when the material is reasonably available for inspection by potentially interested persons within the time allowed for comment.

(6) If information relevant to reasonably foreseeable adverse impacts cannot be obtained because the overall cost of obtaining it is exorbitant or the means to obtain it are not known, the fact that such information is incomplete or unavailable must be stated clearly. In addition, the relevance of the incomplete or unavailable information to the evaluation of the impacts must be stated, and a summary of existing credible scientific evidence relevant to evaluation of the impacts must be included, as well as an evaluation of such impacts on the basis of theoretical approaches or generally accepted research methods. For purposes of this subsection, “reasonably foreseeable” includes impacts which have catastrophic consequences, even if their probability of occurrence is low, provided that the analysis of the impacts is supported by credible scientific evidence, is not based on pure conjecture, and is within the rule of reason.

(7) If a cost-benefit analysis relevant to the choice among environmentally different alternatives was prepared for the proposed action, it must be incorporated by reference or appended to the statement to aid in evaluating the environmental consequences. The relationship between the cost-benefit analysis and any analysis of unquantified environmental impacts, values, and amenities must be discussed.

(8) Methods used must be identified, and footnote references must be made to scientific and other sources relied on for conclusions. Analytical techniques may be incorporated in appendices.

(9) Permits, licenses, and other authorizations needed to implement a proposal must be listed in the draft environmental impact statement and the prospects for obtaining them must be assessed. Where there is uncertainty as to the need for an authorization it must be indicated.

(10) An environmental impact statement must contain a discussion of any inconsistency between the proposed action and any State or local law, ordinance, or approved plan; and must contain a description of the manner and extent to which the proposed action will be reconciled with the law, ordinance, or approved plan.

(11) Where State laws or local ordinances impose environmental impact statement requirements which are not in conflict with those in NEPA, an environmental impact statement made by the Postal Service should satisfy pertinent State and local requirements to the extent practicable.

(c) Format. The standard format for environmental statements is:

(1) Cover Sheet. The cover sheet, not to exceed one page, must include:

(i) A list of the responsible agencies including the lead agency and any cooperating agencies.

(ii) The title of the proposed action that is the subject of the statement (and if appropriate, the titles of related cooperating agency actions), together with any city, state, and county where the action is to take place.

(iii) The name, address, and telephone number of a person at the agency who can supply further information.

(iv) A designation of the document as a draft or final statement or a draft or final supplement.

(v) A one-paragraph abstract of the statement.

(vi) The date by which comments must be received.

(2) Summary. The section should compare and summarize the findings of the analyses of the affected environment, the environmental impacts, the environmental consequences, the alternatives, and the mitigation measures. The summary should sharply define the issues and provide a clear basis for choosing alternatives.

(3) Table of Contents.

(4) Proposed action. This section should clearly outline the need for the EIS and the purpose and description of the proposed action. The entire action should be discussed, including connected and similar actions. A clear discussion of the action will assist in consideration of the alternatives.

(5) Alternatives and mitigation. This portion of the environmental impact statement is vitally important. Based on the analysis in the Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences section (see §775.11(c)(6)), the environmental impacts and the alternatives are presented in comparative form, thus sharply defining the issues and providing a clear basis for choosing alternatives. Those preparing the statement must:

(i) Explore and evaluate all reasonable alternatives, including the “no action” alternative, and briefly discuss the reasons for eliminating any alternatives.

(ii) Devote substantial treatment to each alternative considered in detail, including the proposed action, so that reviewers may evaluate their comparative merits.

(iii) Identify the preferred alternative or alternatives in the draft and final statements.

(iv) Describe appropriate mitigation measures not considered to be an integral part of the proposed action or alternatives. See §775.9(a)(7).

(6) Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences. For each reasonable alternative, each affected element of the environment must be described, followed immediately by an analysis of the impacts (environmental consequences). The analysis must include, among others, the following:

(i) Any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the action be implemented.

(ii) The relationship between short-term uses of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity,

(iii) Any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources should the action be implemented, and

(iv) Energy requirements and conservation; and natural, or depletable, resource requirements and conservation.

(7) List of Mitigation Measures.

(8) List of Preparers. List the names, together with the qualifications (expertise, professional disciplines), of persons who were primarily responsible for preparing the environmental impact statement or significant background papers.

(9) List of Agencies, Organizations and Persons to Whom Copies of the Statement Are Sent.

(10) Index.

(11) Appendices. Include comments on draft statement in final statement.

(d) Distribution. (1) Any completed draft environmental impact statement which is made the subject of a public hearing, must be made available to the public as provided in §775.12, of this chapter at least 15 days in advance of the hearing.

(2) Draft and final environmental impact statements must be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency. Five copies are filed with EPA's headquarters addressed to the Office of Federal Activities (A-104), Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M Street SW., Washington, DC 20460; five copies are also filed with the responsible EPA region. Statements may not be filed with the EPA earlier than they are transmitted to commenting agencies and made available to the public.

(3) Copies of draft and final environmental impact statements must be furnished to:

(i) Any Federal agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved.

(ii) Any appropriate Federal, state, or local agency authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards.

(iii) The appropriate review officials identified in the Postal Service regulations and procedures governing intergovernmental review of Postal Service facility project actions, the State Historic Preservation Officer, and, when National Register or eligible properties may be affected, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

(iv) Any person, organization or agency requesting them.

(4) Copies of final environmental impact statements must be furnished to any person who, or organization or agency which, submitted substantive comments on the draft.

(e) Responses to comments. (1) A final statement responds to comments on a draft statement in one or more of the following ways:

(i) Modification of alternatives, including the proposed action.

(ii) Development and evaluation of alternatives not previously given serious consideration.

(iii) Supplementation, improvement, or modification of analyses.

(iv) Correction of facts.

(v) Explanation of why a comment does not warrant a direct response, citing supporting sources, authorities, or reasons. Relevant circumstances which may trigger reappraisal or further response must be indicated.

(2) Substantive comments received on a draft statement must be attached to the final statement.

(3) If all of the changes are minor and are confined to responses described in paragraphs (e)(1) (iv) and (v) of this section, errata sheets may be written, and only the comments and errata sheets need be recirculated. In such a case, the draft statement with the comments, errata sheets, and a new cover, must be filed as the final statement.

(f) Supplements. (1) A supplement to a draft or final environmental impact statement must be issued if:

(i) Substantial changes are made in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns; or

(ii) Significant new circumstances or information bearing on environmental impacts of the proposed action arise or are discovered.

(2) The decision on a proposed action involving an environmental impact statement, must be delayed until any necessary supplement has been circulated and has gone through the commenting period. A supplement is prepared, circulated, and filed in the same manner (except for determining scope) as draft and final statements, unless alternative procedures are approved by CEQ.

(g) Contracting. A contractor employed to prepare an environmental impact statement must certify that it has no financial or other interest in the outcome of the project.

(h) Proposals for Legislation. Legislative environmental impact statements must be prepared and transmitted as follows:

(1) A legislative environmental impact statement is considered part of the formal transmittal of a legislative proposal to the Congress. It may be transmitted to the Congress up to 30 days after the proposal. The statement must be available in time for Congressional hearings and deliberations.

(2) Preparation and processing of a legislative statement must conform to the requirements for impact statements, except as follows:

(i) It is not necessary to determine the scope of issues.

(ii) A draft is considered to be a final statement. Both draft and final statements are needed only when:

(A) A Congressional committee with jurisdiction over the proposal has a rule requiring both.

(B) Both are specifically required by statute for proposals of the type being submitted.

(3) Comments received on a legislative statement, and the Postal Service's responses, must be forwarded to the Congress.

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979, as amended at 48 FR 29378, June 24, 1983; 55 FR 10455; Mar. 21, 1990. Redesignated and amended at 63 FR 45719, 45722, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.12   Time frames for environmental impact statement actions.

(a) Each week the EPA publishes in the Federal Register a notice of the draft and final environmental impact statements received in that office during the preceding week. The minimum time periods for decision on an action, specified in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section, are calculated from the date of publication of an EPA notice of receipt of the relevant impact statement.

(b) A decision on a proposed action may not be made or recorded until the later of the following dates: 90 days after publication of the notice described in paragraph (a) of this section for a draft statement or 30 days after publication of the notice for a final statement.

(c) If a final statement is filed with the EPA within 90 days after a draft statement is filed, the 30 day period and the 90 day period may run concurrently.

(d) A minimum of 45 days must be allowed for comments on draft statements.

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979. Redesignated at 63 FR 45719, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.13   Public notice and information.

(a) Public notice is given of NEPA-related hearings, intent to undertake environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, and the availability of environmental documents (that is, environmental assessments, findings of no significant impact, and environmental impact statements), as follows:

(1) Notices must be mailed to those who have requested them.

(2) Notices concerning a proposal of national concern must be mailed to national organizations reasonably expected to be interested. Any such notice must be published in the Federal Register. (See paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(3) Notices of any proposed action having effects primarily of local concern are given as follows:

(i) Any such notice, including a copy of any pertinent environmental document, must be mailed to the appropriate review officials identified in the Postal Service regulations and procedures governing intergovernmental review of Postal Service facility project actions, to the State Historic Preservation Officer, and to local public officials.

(ii) Any such notice must be published in one or more local newspapers.

(iii) Any such notice must be posted on and near any proposed and alternate sites for an action.

(iv) Any such notice may be mailed to potentially interested community organizations, including small business associations.

(v) Any such notice may be mailed to owners and occupants of nearby or affected property.

(4) A copy of every notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement must be furnished to the Chief Counsel, Legislative, Law Department, who will have it published in the Federal Register.

(b) All notices must give the name, address, and telephone number of a postal official who may be contacted for information. Environmental documents are made available to the public on request. Inspection, copying, and the furnishing of copies will be in accordance with 39 CFR Part 265, “Release of Information.”

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979, as amended at 47 FR 19992, May 10, 1982; 48 FR 29378, June 24, 1983. Redesignated and amended at 63 FR 45719, 45722, Aug. 27, 1998]

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§775.14   Hearings.

(a) Public hearings must be held whenever there is:

(1) Substantial environmental controversy concerning a proposed action and a request for a hearing by any responsible individual or organization;

(2) A request for a hearing by an agency with jurisdiction over or special expertise concerning the proposed action; or

(3) A reasonable expectation that a hearing will produce significant information not likely to be obtained without a hearing.

(b) The distribution and notice requirements of §§775.11(d)(1) and 775.13 must be complied with whenever a hearing is to be held.

[44 FR 63525, Nov. 5, 1979. Redesignated and amended at 63 FR 45719, 45722, Aug. 27, 1998]

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