(a) Environmental Impact Statements will normally be prepared for rail construction proposals other than those described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(b) Environmental Assessments will normally be prepared for the following proposed actions:
(1) Construction of connecting track within existing rail rights-of-way, or on land owned by the connecting railroads;
(2) Abandonment of a rail line (unless proposed under the Northeast Rail Services Act or the Bankruptcy Act);
(3) Discontinuance of passenger train service or freight service (except for discontinuances of freight service under modified certificates issued under 49 CFR 1150.21 and discontinuances of trackage rights where the affected line will continue to be operated);
(ii) An action that would normally require environmental documentation (such as a construction or abandonment);
(5) A rulemaking, policy statement, or legislative proposal that has the potential for significant environmental impacts; and
(c) No environmental documentation will normally be prepared (although a Historic Report may be required under section 1105.8) for the following actions:
(1) Any action that does not result in significant changes in carrier operations (i.e., changes that do not exceed the thresholds established in section 1105.7(e) (4) or (5)), including (but not limited to) all of the following actions that meet this criterion:
(i) An acquisition, lease, or operation under 49 U.S.C. 10901, 10902, or 10907, or consolidation, merger, or acquisition of control under 49 U.S.C. 11323 and 14303 that does not come within subsection (b)(4) of this section.
(ii) Transactions involving corporate changes (such as a change in the ownership or the operator, or the issuance of securities or reorganization) including grants of authority to hold position as an officer or director;
(iii) Declaratory orders, interpretation or clarification of operating authority, substitution of an applicant, name changes, and waiver of lease and interchange regulations;
(iv) Pooling authorizations, approval of rate bureau agreements, and approval of shipper antitrust immunity;
(v) Determinations of the fact of competition;
(2) Rate, fare, and tariff actions;
(3) Common use of rail terminals and trackage rights;
(4) Discontinuance of rail freight service under a modified certificate issued pursuant to 49 CFR 1150.21;
(5) Discontinuance of trackage rights where the affected line will continue to be operated; and
(6) A rulemaking, policy statement, or legislative proposal that has no potential for significant environmental impacts.
(d) The Board may reclassify or modify these requirements for individual proceedings. For actions that generally require no environmental documentation, the Board may decide that a particular action has the potential for significant environmental impacts and that, therefore, the applicant should provide an environmental report and either an EA or an EIS will be prepared. For actions generally requiring an EA, the Board may prepare a full EIS where the probability of significant impacts from the particular proposal is high enough to warrant an EIS. Alternatively, in a rail construction, an applicant can seek to demonstrate (with supporting information addressing the pertinent aspects of § 1105.7(e)) that an EA, rather than an EIS, will be sufficient because the particular proposal is not likely to have a significant environmental impact. Any request for reclassification must be in writing and, in a rail construction, should be presented with the prefiling notice required by § 1105.10(a)(1) (or a request to waive that prefiling notice period).
(e) The classifications in this section apply without regard to whether the action is proposed by application, petition, notice of exemption, or any other means that initiates a formal Board proceeding.