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e-CFR data is current as of April 1, 2020

Title 32Subtitle AChapter VSubchapter KPart 651Subpart B → §651.14

Title 32: National Defense
Subpart B—National Environmental Policy Act and the Decision Process

§651.14   Integration with Army planning.

(a) Early integration. The Army goal is to concurrently integrate environmental reviews with other Army planning and decision-making actions, thereby avoiding delays in mission accomplishment. To achieve this goal, proponents shall complete NEPA analysis as part of any recommendation or report to decision makers prior to the decision (subject to 40 CFR 1506.1). Early planning (inclusion in Installation Master Plans, INRMPs, ICRMPs, Acquisition Strategies, strategic plans, etc.) will allow efficient program or project execution later in the process.

(1) The planning process will identify issues that are likely to have an effect on the environment, or to be controversial. In most cases, local citizens and/or existing advisory groups should assist in identifying potentially controversial issues during the planning process. The planning process also identifies minor issues that have little or no measurable environmental effect, and it is sound NEPA practice to reduce or eliminate discussion of minor issues to help focus analyses. Such an approach will minimize unnecessary analysis and discussion in the NEPA process and documents.

(2) Decision makers will be informed of and consider the environmental consequences at the same time as other factors such as mission requirements, schedule, and cost. If permits or coordination are required (for example, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act consultation, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), etc.), they should be initiated no later than the scoping phase of the process and should run parallel to the NEPA process, not sequential to it. This practice is in accordance with the recommendations presented in the CEQ publication entitled “The National Environmental Policy Act: A Study of Its Effectiveness After Twenty-five Years.”

(3) NEPA documentation will accompany the proposal through the Army review and decision-making processes. These documents will be forwarded to the planners, designers, and/or implementers, ensuring that the recommendations and mitigations upon which the decision was based are being carried out. The implementation process will provide necessary feedback for adaptive environmental management; responding to inaccuracies or uncertainties in the Army's ability to accurately predict impacts, changing field conditions, or unexpected results from monitoring. The integration of NEPA into the ongoing planning activities of the Army can produce considerable savings to the Army.1

1For example, a well-executed EA or EIS on an Installation Master Plan can eliminate the need for many case-by-case analyses and documentation for construction projects. After the approval of an adequate comprehensive plan (which adequately addresses the potential for environmental effects), subsequent projects can tier off of the Master Plan NEPA analysis (AR 210-20). Other integration of the NEPA process and broad-level planning can lead to the “tiering” of NEPA, allowing the proponent to minimize the effort spent on individual projects, and “incorporating by reference” the broader level environmental considerations. This tiering allows the development of program level (programmatic) EAs and EISs, which can introduce greater economies of scale. These assessments are addressed in more detail in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Time limits. The timing of the preparation, circulation, submission, and public availability of NEPA documentation is important to ensure that environmental values are integrated into Army planning and decisions.

(1) Categorical exclusions. When a proposed action is categorically excluded from further environmental review (subpart D and appendix B of this part), the proponent may proceed immediately with that action upon receipt of all necessary approvals, (including local environmental office confirmation that the CX applies to the proposal) and the preparation of a REC, if required.

(2) Findings of no significant impact. (i) A proponent will make an EA and draft FNSI available to the public for review and comment for a minimum of 30 days prior to making a final decision and proceeding with an action. If the proposed action is one of national concern, is unprecedented, or normally requires an EIS (§651.42), the FNSI must be published in the FR. Otherwise, the FNSI must be published in local newspapers and be made widely available. The FNSI must articulate the deadline for receipt of comments, availability of the EA for review, and steps required to obtain the EA. This can include a POC, address, and phone number; a location; a reference to a website; or some equivalent mechanism. (In no cases will the only coordination mechanism be a website.) At the conclusion of the appropriate comment period, as specified in Figure 2, the decision maker may sign the FNSI and take immediate action, unless sufficient public comments are received to warrant more time for their resolution. Figure 2 follows:

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(ii) A news release is required to publicize the availability of the EA and draft FNSI, and a simultaneous announcement that includes publication in the FR must be made by HQDA, if warranted (see §651.35 (e)). The 30-day waiting period begins at the time that the draft FNSI is publicized (40 CFR 1506.6(b)).

(iii) In cases where the 30-day comment period jeopardizes the project and the full comment period would provide no public benefit, the period may be shortened with appropriate approval by a higher decision authority (such as a MACOM). In no circumstances should the public comment period for an EA/draft FNSI be less than 15 days. A deadline and POC for receipt of comments must be included in the draft FNSI and the news release.

(3) EIS. The EPA publishes a weekly notice in the FR of the EISs filed during the preceding week. This notice usually occurs each Friday. An NOA reaching EPA on a Friday will be published in the following Friday issue of the FR. Failure to deliver an NOA to EPA by close of business on Friday will result in an additional one-week delay. A news release publicizing the action will be made in conjunction with the notice in the FR. The following time periods, calculated from the publication date of the EPA notice, will be observed:

(i) Not less than 45 days for public comment on DEISs (40 CFR 1506.10(c)).

(ii) Not less than 15 days for public availability of DEISs prior to any public hearing on the DEIS (40 CFR 1506(c)(2)).

(iii) Not less than 90 days from filing the DEIS prior to any decision on the proposed action. These periods may run concurrently (40 CFR 1506.10(b) and (c)).

(iv) The time periods prescribed here may be extended or reduced in accordance with 40 CFR 1506.10(b)(2) and (d).

(v) When variations to these time limits are set, the Army agency should consider the factors in 40 CFR 1501.8(b)(1).

(vi) The proponent may also set time limits for other procedures or decisions related to DEISs and FEISs as listed in 40 CFR 1501.8(b)(2).

(vii) Because the entire EIS process could require more than one year (Figure 2 in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section), the process must begin as soon as the project is sufficiently mature to allow analysis of alternatives and the proponent must coordinate with all staff elements with a role to play in the NEPA process. DEIS preparation and response to comments constitute the largest portion of time to prepare an FEIS.

(viii) A public affairs plan should be developed that provides for periodic interaction with the community. There is a minimum public review time of 90 days between the publication of the DEIS and the announcement of the ROD. After the availability of the ROD is announced, the action may proceed. This announcement must be made through the FR for those EISs for which HQDA signs the ROD. For other EISs, announcements in the local press are adequate. Figure 2 in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section indicates typical and required time periods for EISs.

(c) Programmatic environmental review (tiering). (1) Army agencies are encouraged to analyze actions at a programmatic level for those programs that are similar in nature or broad in scope (40 CFR 1502.4(c), 1502.20, and 1508.23). This level of analysis will eliminate repetitive discussions of the same issues and focus on the key issues at each appropriate level of project review. When a broad programmatic EA or EIS has been prepared, any subsequent EIS or EA on an action included within the entire program or policy (particularly a site-specific action) need only summarize issues discussed in the broader statement and concentrate on the issues specific to the subsequent action.2 This subsequent document will state where the earlier document is available.

2As an example, an appropriate way to address diverse weapon system deployments would be to produce site-specific EAs or EISs for each major deployment installation, using the generic environmental effects of the weapon system identified in a programmatic EA or EIS prepared by the MATDEV.

(2) Army proponents are normally required to prepare many types of management plans that must include or be accompanied by appropriate NEPA analysis. NEPA analysis for these types of plans can often be accomplished with a programmatic approach, creating an analysis that covers a number of smaller projects or activities. In cases where such activities are adequately assessed as part of these normal planning activities, a REC can be prepared for smaller actions that cite the document in which the activities were previously assessed. Care must be taken to ensure that site-specific or case-specific conditions are adequately addressed in the existing programmatic document before a REC can be used, and the REC must reflect this consideration. If additional analyses are required, they can “tier” off the original analyses, eliminating duplication. Tiering, in this manner, is often applicable to Army actions that are long-term, multi-faceted, or multi-site.

(d) Scoping. (1) When the planning for an Army project or action indicates a need for an EIS, the proponent initiates the scoping process (see subpart G of this part for procedures and actions). This process determines the scope of issues to address in the EIS and identifies the significant issues related to the proposed action. During the scoping, process participants identify the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to consider in the EIS (40 CFR 1508.25). For an individual action, the scope may depend on the relationship of the proposed action to other NEPA documents. The scoping phase of the NEPA process, as part of project planning, will identify aspects of the proposal that are likely to have an effect or be controversial; and will ensure that the NEPA analyses are useful for a decision maker. For example, the early identification and initiation of permit or coordination actions can facilitate problem resolution, and, similarly, cumulative effects can be addressed early in the process and at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales.

(2) The extent of the scoping process, including public involvement, will depend on several factors. These factors include:

(i) The size and type of the proposed action.

(ii) Whether the proposed action is of regional or national interest.

(iii) Degree of any associated environmental controversy.

(iv) Size of the affected environmental parameters.

(v) Significance of any effects on them.

(vi) Extent of prior environmental review.

(vii) Involvement of any substantive time limits.

(viii) Requirements by other laws for environmental review.

(ix) Cumulative impacts.

(3) Through scoping, many future controversies can be eliminated, and public involvement can be used to narrow the scope of the study, concentrating on those aspects of the analysis that are truly important.

(4) The proponent may incorporate scoping as part of the EA process, as well. If the proponent chooses a public involvement strategy, the extent of scoping incorporated is at the proponent's discretion.

(e) Analyses and documentation. Several statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders require analyses, consultation, documentation, and coordination, which duplicate various elements and/or analyses required by NEPA and the CEQ regulations; often leading to confusion, duplication of effort, omission, and, ultimately, unnecessary cost and delay. Therefore, Army proponents are encouraged to identify, early in the NEPA process, opportunities for integrating those requirements into proposed Army programs, policies, and projects. Environmental analyses required by this part will be integrated as much as practicable with other environmental reviews, laws, and Executive Orders (40 CFR 1502.25). Incorporation of these processes must ensure that the individual requirements are met, in addition to those required by NEPA. The NEPA process does not replace the procedural or substantive requirements of other environmental statutes and regulations. Rather, it addresses them in one place so the decision maker has a concise and comprehensive view of the major environmental issues and understands the interrelationships and potential conflicts among the environmental components. NEPA is the “umbrella” that facilitates such coordination by integrating processes that might otherwise proceed independently. Prime candidates for such integration include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Clean Air Act, as amended (General Conformity Rule, 40 CFR parts 51 and 93).

(2) Endangered Species Act.

(3) NHPA, sections 106 and 110.

(4) NAGPRA (Public Law 101-601, 104 Stat. 3048).

(5) Clean Water Act, including Section 404(b)(1).

(6) American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

(7) Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act.

(8) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

(9) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

(10) Pollution Prevention Act.

(11) The Sikes Act, Public Law 86-797, 74 Stat. 1052.

(12) Federal Compliance with Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements (Executive Order 12856, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 616).

(13) Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (Executive Order 12898, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 859).

(14) Indian Sacred Sites (Executive Order 13007, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 196).

(15) Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks (Executive Order 13045, 3 CFR, 1997 Comp., p. 198).

(16) Federal Support of Community Efforts Along American Heritage Rivers (Executive Order 13061, 3 CFR, 1997 Comp., p. 221).

(17) Floodplain Management (Executive Order 11988, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 117).

(18) Protection of Wetlands (Executive Order 11990, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 121).

(19) Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (Executive Order 12114, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp., p. 356).

(20) Invasive Species (Executive Order 13112, 3 CFR, 1999 Comp., p. 159).

(21) AR 200-3, Natural Resources—Land, Forest, and Wildlife Management.

(22) Environmental analysis and documentation required by various state laws.

(23) Any cost-benefit analyses prepared in relation to a proposed action (40 CFR 1502.23).

(24) Any permitting and licensing procedures required by federal and state law.

(25) Any installation and Army master planning functions and plans.

(26) Any installation management plans, particularly those that deal directly with the environment.

(27) Any stationing and installation planning, force development planning, and materiel acquisition planning.

(28) Environmental Noise Management Program.

(29) Hazardous waste management plans.

(30) Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan as required by AR 200-4 and DODD 4700.4, Natural Resources Management Program.

(31) Asbestos Management Plans.

(32) Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans, AR 200-3, Natural Resources—Land, Forest, and Wildlife Management, and DODD 4700.4, Natural Resources Management Program.

(33) Environmental Baseline Surveys.

(34) Programmatic Environment, Safety, and Health Evaluation (PESHE) as required by DOD 5000.2-R and DA Pamphlet 70-3, Army Acquisition Procedures, supporting AR 70-1, Acquisition Policy.

(35) The DOD MOU to Foster the Ecosystem Approach signed by CEQ, and DOD, on 15 December 1995; establishing the importance of “non-listed,” “non-game,” and “non-protected” species.

(36) Other requirements (such as health risk assessments), when efficiencies in the overall Army environmental program will result.

(f) Integration into Army acquisition. The Army acquisition community will integrate environmental analyses into decision-making, as required in this part ensuring that environmental considerations become an integral part of total program planning and budgeting, PEOs, and Program, Product, and Project Managers integrate the NEPA process early, and acquisition planning and decisions reflect national and Army environmental values and considerations. By integrating pollution prevention and other aspects of any environmental analysis early into the materiel acquisition process, the PEO and PM facilitate the identification of environmental cost drivers at a time when they can be most effectively controlled. NEPA program coordinators should refer to DA Pamphlet 70-3, Army Acquisition Procedures, and the Defense Acquisition Deskbook (DAD) for current specific implementation guidance, procedures, and POCs.

(g) Relations with local, state, regional, and tribal agencies. (1) Army installation, agency, or activity environmental officers or planners should establish a continuing relationship with other agencies, including the staffs of adjacent local, state, regional, and tribal governments and agencies. This relationship will promote cooperation and resolution of mutual land use and environment-related problems, and promote the concept of regional ecosystem management as well as general cooperative problem solving. Many of these “partners” will have specialized expertise and access to environmental baseline data, which will assist the Army in day-to-day planning as well as NEPA-related issues. MOUs are encouraged to identify areas of mutual interest, establish POCs, identify lines of communication between agencies, and specify procedures to follow in conflict resolution. Additional coordination is available from state and area-wide planning and development agencies. Through this process, the proponent may gain insights on other agencies' approaches to EAs, surveys, and studies applicable to the current proposal. These other agencies would also be able to assist in identifying possible participants in scoping procedures for projects requiring an EIS.

(2) In some cases, local, state, regional, or tribal governments or agencies will have sufficient jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to reasonable alternatives or significant environmental, social, or economic impacts associated with a proposed action. When appropriate, proponents of an action should determine whether these entities have an interest in becoming a cooperating agency (§651.45 (b) and 40 CFR 1501.6). If cooperating agency status is established, a memorandum of agreement is required to document specific expectations, roles, and responsibilities, including analyses to be performed, time schedules, availability of pre-decisional information, and other issues. Cooperating agencies may use their own funds, and the designation of cooperating agency status neither enlarges nor diminishes the decision-making status of any federal or non-federal entities (see CEQ Memorandum for Heads of Federal Agencies entitled “Designation of Non-Federal Agencies to be Cooperating Agencies in Implementing the Procedural Requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act” dated 28 July 1999, available from the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Executive Office of the President of the U.S.). In determining sufficient jurisdiction or expertise, CEQ regulations can be used as guidance.

(h) The Army as a cooperating agency. Often, other agencies take actions that can negatively impact the Army mission. In such cases, the Army may have some special or unique expertise or jurisdiction.

(1) The Army may be a cooperating agency (40 CFR 1501.6) in order to:

(i) Provide information or technical expertise to a lead agency.

(ii) Approve portions of a proposed action.

(iii) Ensure the Army has an opportunity to be involved in an action of another federal agency that will affect the Army.

(iv) Provide review and approval of the portions of EISs and RODs that affect the Army.

(2) Adequacy of an EIS is primarily the responsibility of the lead agency. However, as a cooperating agency with approval authority over portions of a proposal, the Army may adopt an EIS if review concludes the EIS adequately satisfies the Army's comments and suggestions.

(3) If the Army is a major approval authority for the proposed action, the appropriate Army official may sign the ROD prepared by the lead agency, or prepare a separate, more focused ROD. If the Army's approval authority is only a minor aspect of the overall proposal, such as issuing a temporary use permit, the Army need not sign the lead agency's ROD or prepare a separate ROD.

(4) The magnitude of the Army's involvement in the proposal will determine the appropriate level and scope of Army review of NEPA documents. If the Army is a major approval authority or may be severely impacted by the proposal or an alternative, the Army should undertake the same level of review as if it were the lead agency. If the involvement is limited, the review may be substantially less. The lead agency is responsible for overall supervision of the EIS, and the Army will attempt to meet all reasonable time frames imposed by the lead agency.

(5) If an installation (or other Army organization) should become aware of an EIS being prepared by another federal agency in which they may be involved within the discussion of the document, they should notify ASA(I&E) through the chain of command. ASA(I&E) will advise regarding appropriate Army participation as a cooperating agency, which may simply involve local coordination.

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