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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of April 2, 2020

Title 32Subtitle AChapter VSubchapter KPart 651 → Subpart C

Title 32: National Defense

Subpart C—Records and Documents

§651.18   Introduction.
§651.19   Record of environmental consideration.
§651.20   Environmental assessment.
§651.21   Finding of no significant impact.
§651.22   Notice of intent.
§651.23   Environmental impact statement.
§651.24   Supplemental EAs and supplemental EISs.
§651.25   Notice of availability.
§651.26   Record of decision.
§651.27   Programmatic NEPA analyses.

§651.18   Introduction.

NEPA documentation will be prepared and published double-sided on recycled paper. The recycled paper symbol should be presented on the inside of document covers.

§651.19   Record of environmental consideration.

A Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) is a signed statement submitted with project documentation that briefly documents that an Army action has received environmental review. RECs are prepared for CXs that require them, and for actions covered by existing or previous NEPA documentation. A REC briefly describes the proposed action and timeframe, identifies the proponent and approving official(s), and clearly shows how an action qualifies for a CX, or is already covered in an existing EA or EIS. When used to support a CX, the REC must address the use of screening criteria to ensure that no extraordinary circumstances or situations exist. A REC has no prescribed format, as long as the above information is included. To reduce paperwork, a REC can reference such documents as real estate Environmental Baseline Studies (EBSs) and other documents, as long as they are readily available for review. While a REC may document compliance with the requirements of NEPA, it does not fulfill the requirements of other environmental laws and regulations. Figure 3 illustrates a possible format for the REC as follows:

eCFR graphic er29mr02.002.gif

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§651.20   Environmental assessment.

An EA is intended to assist agency planning and decision-making. While required to assess environmental impacts and evaluate their significance, it is routinely used as a planning document to evaluate environmental impacts, develop alternatives and mitigation measures, and allow for agency and public participation. It:

(a) Briefly provides the decision maker with sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether a FNSI or an EIS should be prepared.

(b) Assures compliance with NEPA, if an EIS is not required and a CX is inappropriate.

(c) Facilitates preparation of an EIS, if required.

(d) Includes brief discussions of the need for the proposed action, alternatives to the proposed action (NEPA, section 102(2)(e)), environmental impacts, and a listing of persons and agencies consulted (see subpart E of this part for requirements).

(e) The EA provides the proponent, the public, and the decision maker with sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether environmental impacts of a proposed action are potentially significant. An EA is substantially less rigorous and costly than an EIS, but requires sufficient detail to identify and ascertain the significance of expected impacts associated with the proposed action and its alternatives. The EA can often provide the required “hard look” at the potential environmental effects of an action, program, or policy within 1 to 25 pages, depending upon the nature of the action and project-specific conditions.

§651.21   Finding of no significant impact.

A Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI) is a document that briefly states why an action (not otherwise excluded) will not significantly affect the environment, and, therefore, that an EIS will not be prepared. The FNSI includes a summary of the EA and notes any related NEPA documentation. If the EA is attached, the FNSI need not repeat any of the EA discussion, but may incorporate it by reference. The draft FNSI will be made available to the public for review and comment for 30 days prior to the initiation of an action, except in special circumstances when the public comment period is reduced to 15 days, as discussed in §651.14(b)(2)(iii). Following the comment period and review of public comments, the proponent forwards a decision package that includes a comparison of environmental impacts associated with reasonable alternatives, summary of public concerns, revised FNSI (if necessary), and recommendations for the decision maker. The decision maker reviews the package, makes a decision, and signs the FNSI or the NOI (if the FNSI no longer applies). If a FNSI is signed by the decision maker, the action can proceed immediately.

§651.22   Notice of intent.

A Notice of Intent (NOI) is a public notice that an EIS will be prepared. The NOI will briefly:

(a) Describe the proposed and alternative actions.

(b) Describe the proposed scoping process, including when and where any public meetings will be held.

(c) State the name and address of the POC who can answer questions on the proposed action and the EIS (see §651.45(a) and §651.49 for application).

§651.23   Environmental impact statement.

An Environmental Impact statement (EIS) is a detailed written statement required by NEPA for major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment (42 U.S.C. 4321). A more complete discussion of EIS requirements is presented in subpart F of this part.

§651.24   Supplemental EAs and supplemental EISs.

As detailed in §651.5(g) and in 40 CFR 1502.9(c), proposed actions may require review of existing NEPA documentation. If conditions warrant a supplemental document, these documents are processed in the same way as an original EA or EIS. No new scoping is required for a supplemental EIS filed within one year of the filing of the original ROD. If the review indicates no need for a supplement, that determination will be documented in a REC.

§651.25   Notice of availability.

The Notice of Availability (NOA) is published by the Army to inform the public and others that a NEPA document is available for review. A NOA will be published in the FR, coordinating with EPA for draft and final EISs (including supplements), for RODs, and for EAs and FNSIs which are of national concern, are unprecedented, or normally require an EIS. EAs and FNSIs of local concern will be made available in accordance with §651.36. This agency NOA should not be confused with the EPA's notice of availability of weekly receipts (NWR)3 of EISs.

3This notice is published by the EPA and officially begins the public review period. The NWR is published each Friday, and lists the EISs that were filed the previous week.

§651.26   Record of decision.

The Record of Decision (ROD) is a concise public document summarizing the findings in the EIS and the basis for the decision. A public ROD is required under the provisions of 40 CFR 1505.2 after completion of an EIS (see §651.45 (j) for application). The ROD must identify mitigations which were important in supporting decisions, such as those mitigations which reduce otherwise significant impacts, and ensure that appropriate monitoring procedures are implemented (see §651.15 for application).

§651.27   Programmatic NEPA analyses.

These analyses, in the form of an EA or EIS, are useful to examine impacts of actions that are similar in nature or broad in scope. These documents allow the “tiering” of future NEPA documentation in cases where future decisions or unknown future conditions preclude complete NEPA analyses in one step. These documents are discussed further in §651.14(c).

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