(a) The bureau must, to the extent practicable, provide for public notification and public involvement when an environmental assessment is being prepared. However, the methods for providing public notification and opportunities for public involvement are at the discretion of the Responsible Official.
(1) The bureau must consider comments that are timely received, whether specifically solicited or not.
(2) Although scoping is not required, the bureau may apply a scoping process to an environmental assessment.
(b) Publication of a “draft” environmental assessment is not required. Bureaus may seek comments on an environmental assessment if they determine it to be appropriate, such as when the level of public interest or the uncertainty of effects warrants, and may revise environmental assessments based on comments received without need of initiating another comment period.
(c) The bureau must notify the public of the availability of an environmental assessment and any associated finding of no significant impact once they have been completed. Comments on a finding of no significant impact do not need to be solicited, except as required by 40 CFR 1501.4(e)(2).
(d) Bureaus may allow cooperating agencies (as defined in § 46.225) to participate in developing environmental assessments.