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e-CFR data is current as of April 8, 2020

Title 32Subtitle AChapter VSubchapter KPart 651Subpart B → §651.15

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

§651.15   Mitigation and monitoring.

(a) Throughout the environmental analysis process, the proponent will consider mitigation measures to avoid or minimize environmental harm. Mitigation measures include:

(1) Avoiding the impact altogether, by eliminating the action or parts of the action.

(2) Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation.

(3) Rectifying the impact; by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the adverse effect on the environment.

(4) Reducing or eliminating the impact over time, by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action.

(5) Compensating for the impact, by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments. (Examples and further clarification are presented in appendix C of this part.)

(b) When the analysis proceeds to an EA or EIS, mitigation measures will be clearly assessed and those selected for implementation will be identified in the FNSI or the ROD. The proponent must implement those identified mitigations, because they are commitments made as part of the Army decision. The proponent is responsible for responding to inquiries from the public or other agencies regarding the status of mitigation measures adopted in the NEPA process. The mitigation shall become a line item in the proponent's budget or other funding document, if appropriate, or included in the legal document implementing the action (for example, contracts, leases, or grants). Only those practical mitigation measures that can reasonably be accomplished as part of a proposed alternative will be identified. Any mitigation measures selected by the proponent will be clearly outlined in the NEPA decision document, will be budgeted and funded (or funding arranged) by the proponent, and will be identified, with the appropriate fund code, in the EPR (AR 200-1). Mitigations will be monitored through environmental compliance reporting, such as the ISR (AR 200-1) or the Environmental Quality Report. Mitigation measures are identified and funded in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, or other media area requirements.

(c) Based upon the analysis and selection of mitigation measures that reduce environmental impacts until they are no longer significant, an EA may result in a FNSI. If a proponent uses mitigation measures in such a manner, the FNSI must identify these mitigating measures, and they become legally binding and must be accomplished as the project is implemented. If any of these identified mitigation measures do not occur, so that significant adverse environmental effects could reasonably expected to result, the proponent must publish an NOI and prepare an EIS.

(d) Potential mitigation measures that appear practical, and are unobtainable within expected Army resources, or that some other agency (including non-Army agencies) should perform, will be identified in the NEPA analysis to the maximum extent practicable. A number of factors determine what is practical, including military mission, manpower restrictions, cost, institutional barriers, technical feasibility, and public acceptance. Practicality does not necessarily ensure resolution of conflicts among these items, rather it is the degree of conflict that determines practicality. Although mission conflicts are inevitable, they are not necessarily insurmountable; and the proponent should be cautious about declaring all mitigations impractical and carefully consider any manpower requirements. The key point concerning both the manpower and cost constraints is that, unless money is actually budgeted and manpower assigned, the mitigation does not exist. Coordination by the proponent early in the process will be required to allow ample time to get the mitigation activities into the budget cycle. The project cannot be undertaken until all required mitigation efforts are fully resourced, or until the lack of funding and resultant effects, are fully addressed in the NEPA analysis.

(e) Mitigation measures that were considered but rejected, including those that can be accomplished by other agencies, must be discussed, along with the reason for the rejection, within the EA or EIS. If they occur in an EA, their rejection may lead to an EIS, if the resultant unmitigated impacts are significant.

(f) Proponents may request assistance with mitigation from cooperating non-Army agencies, when appropriate. Such assistance is appropriate when the requested agency was a cooperating agency during preparation of a NEPA document, or has the technology, expertise, time, funds, or familiarity with the project or the local ecology necessary to implement the mitigation measure more effectively than the lead agency.

(g) The proponent agency or other appropriate cooperating agency will implement mitigations and other conditions established in the EA or EIS, or commitments made in the FNSI or ROD. Legal documents implementing the action (such as contracts, permits, grants) will specify mitigation measures to be performed. Penalties against a contractor for noncompliance may also be specified as appropriate. Specification of penalties should be fully coordinated with the appropriate legal advisor.

(h) A monitoring and enforcement program for any mitigation will be adopted and summarized in the NEPA documentation (see appendix C of this part for guidelines on implementing such a program). Whether adoption of a monitoring and enforcement program is applicable (40 CFR 1505.2(c)) and whether the specific adopted action requires monitoring (40 CFR 1505.3) may depend on the following:

(1) A change in environmental conditions or project activities assumed in the EIS (such that original predictions of the extent of adverse environmental impacts may be too limited);

(2) The outcome of the mitigation measure is uncertain (for example, new technology);

(3) Major environmental controversy remains associated with the selected alternative; or

(4) Failure of a mitigation measure, or other unforeseen circumstances, could result in a failure to meet achievement of requirements (such as adverse effects on federal or state listed endangered or threatened species, important historic or archaeological sites that are either listed or eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, or other public or private protected resources). Proponents must follow local installation environmental office procedures to coordinate with appropriate federal, tribal, state, or local agencies responsible for a particular program to determine what would constitute “adverse effects.”

(i) Monitoring is an integral part of any mitigation system.

(1) Enforcement monitoring ensures that mitigation is being performed as described in the NEPA documentation, mitigation requirements and penalty clauses are written into any contracts, and required provisions are enforced. The development of an enforcement monitoring program is governed by who will actually perform the mitigation: a contractor, a cooperating agency, or an in-house (Army) lead agency. Detailed guidance is contained in Appendix C of this part. The proponent is ultimately responsible for performing any mitigation activities. All monitoring results will be sent to the installation Environmental Office; in the case of the Army Reserves, the Regional Support Commands (RSCs); and, in the case of the National Guard, the NGB.

(2) Effectiveness monitoring measures the success of the mitigation effort and/or the environmental effect. While quantitative measurements are desired, qualitative measures may be required. The objective is to obtain enough information to judge the effect of the mitigation. In establishing the monitoring system, the responsible agent should coordinate the monitoring with the Environmental Office. Specific steps and guidelines are included in appendix C of this part.

(j) The monitoring program, in most cases, should be established well before the action begins, particularly when biological variables are being measured and investigated. At this stage, any necessary contracts, funding, and manpower assignments must be initiated. Technical results from the analysis should be summarized by the proponent and coordinated with the installation Environmental Office. Subsequent coordination with the concerned public and other agencies, as arranged through development of the mitigation plan, will be handled through the Environmental Office.

(k) If the mitigations are effective, the monitoring should be continued as long as the mitigations are needed to address impacts of the initial action. If the mitigations are ineffective, the proponent and the responsible group should re-examine the mitigation measures, in consultation with the Environmental Office and appropriate experts, and resolve the inadequacies of the mitigation or monitoring. Professionals with specialized and recognized expertise in the topic or issue, as well as concerned citizens, are essential to the credibility of this review. If a different program is required, then a new system must be established. If ineffective mitigations are identified which were required to reduce impact below significance levels (§651.35 (g)), the proponent may be required to publish an NOI and prepare an EIS (paragraph (c) of this section).

(l) Environmental monitoring report. An environmental monitoring report is prepared at one or more points after program or action execution. Its purpose is to determine the accuracy of impact predictions. It can serve as the basis for adjustments in mitigation programs and to adjust impact predictions in future projects. Further guidance and clarification are included in appendix C of this part.

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