(a) Major planning and decisions points. The NEPA process will be fully coordinated with APHIS planning in cooperation with program personnel. Specific decision points or milestones will be identified and communicated to the public and others in a notice of intent and in the context of the public scoping process.
(b) Public involvement. There will be an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement process.
(1) A notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement will be published in the Federal Register as soon as it is determined that a proposed major Federal action has the potential to affect significantly the quality of the human environment. The notice may include a preliminary scope of environmental study. All public and other involvement in APHIS' environmental impact statement process, including the scoping process, commenting on draft documents, and participation in the preparation of any supplemental documents, will be pursuant to CEQ's implementing regulations.
(2) Opportunities for public involvement in the environmental assessment process will be announced in the same fashion as the availability of environmental assessments and findings of no significant impact.
(3) Notification of the availability of environmental assessments and findings of no significant impact for proposed activities will be published in the Federal Register, unless it is determined that the effects of the action are primarily of regional or local concern. Where the effects of the action are primarily of regional or local concern, notice will normally be provided through publication in a local or area newspaper of general circulation and/or the procedures implementing Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.”
(4) All environmental documents and comments received will be made available to the public via Regulations.gov.