(a) As defined by CEQ in 40 CFR 1508.9, an EA is a concise public document that serves to provide sufficient evidence and analysis for an agency to determine whether to prepare an EIS or a FONSI. The EA shall include brief discussions of the need for the proposal, of alternatives as required by section 102(2)(E) of NEPA, of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives, and a listing of agencies and persons consulted. An EA shall be prepared for each action not categorically excluded in § 25.30, § 25.31, § 25.32, § 25.33, or § 25.34, or § 25.35. The EA shall focus on relevant environmental issues relating to the use and disposal from use of FDA-regulated articles and shall be a concise, objective, and well-balanced document that allows the public to understand the agency's decision. If potentially adverse environmental impacts are identified for an action or a group of related actions, the EA shall discuss any reasonable alternative course of action that offers less environmental risk or that is environmentally preferable to the proposed action. The use of a scientifically justified tiered testing approach, in which testing may be stopped when the results suggest that no significant impact will occur, is an acceptable approach.
(b) Generally, FDA requires an applicant to prepare an EA and make necessary corrections to it. Ultimately, FDA is responsible for the scope and content of EA's and may include additional information in environmental documents when warranted.
(c) Information concerning the nature and scope of information that an applicant or petitioner shall submit in an EA may be obtained from the center or other office of the agency having responsibility for the action that is the subject of the environmental evaluation. Applicants and petitioners are encouraged to submit proposed protocols for environmental studies for technical review by agency staff. Applicants and petitioners also are encouraged to consult applicable FDA EA guidance documents, which provide additional advice on how to comply with FDA regulations.
(e) The agency evaluates the information contained in an EA and any public input to determine whether it is accurate and objective, whether the proposed action may significantly affect the quality of the human environment, and whether an EIS or a FONSI will be prepared. The responsible agency official examines the environmental risks of the proposed action and the alternative courses of action, selects a course of action, and ensures that any necessary mitigating measures are implemented as a condition for approving the selected course of action.