2.The proposed location for the project and why it waschosen3.The time period required for project construction4.The potential environmental requirements or outputs(stresses) from the project during its operational phase,including land requirements, air pollution emissions,water use and water pollutant emissions, and waste gen-eration and disposal needs5.The identified current need for the proposed project inthe location where it is proposed (this need could berelated to housing, flood control, industrial develop-ment, economic development, and many other re-quirements); project need must be addressed as part of the environmental documentation6.Any alternatives which have been considered, withgeneric alternatives for projects including site location,project size, project design features and pollution con-trol measures, and project timing relative to construc-tion and operational issues; project need in relation tothe proposed project size should be clearly delineated;the range of alternatives may be limited due to the in-dividual preferences of project sponsors, primary focuson traditional engineering solutions, and time pressuresfor decision making (Bacow 1980)A categorical exclusion refers to a category of actionswhich do not individually or cumulatively have a signifi-cant effect on the human environment and have no sucheffect in procedures adopted by a federal agency in im-plementation of the CEQ regulations. Neither an EA noran EIS is required for categorical exclusions.An EA is a concise public document that serves to pro-vide sufficient evidence and analysis for determiningwhether to prepare an EIS or a finding of no significantimpact (FONSI), aid an agency’s compliance with theNEPA when no EIS is necessary, or facilitate preparationof an EIS when one is necessary. A FONSI is a documentwritten by a federal agency briefly presenting the reasonswhy an action, not otherwise excluded, will not have asignificant effect on the human environment and for whichan EIS will not be prepared. A mitigated FONSI refers toa proposed action that has incorporated mitigation mea-sures to reduce any significant negative effects to insignif-icant ones.The key definition in the EIA process is
since a proposed action which signifi-cantly affects the human environment requires an EIS.
as used in the NEPA requires considerationsof both context and intensity. Context means that signif-icance must be analyzed relative to society as a whole (hu-man, national), the affected region, the affected interests,the locality, and whether the effects are short- or long-term. Intensity refers to the severity of impact. The fol-lowing should be considered in evaluating intensity:1.Impacts that may be both beneficial and adverse (Asignificant effect may exist even if the federal agencybelieves that on balance the effect will be beneficial)2.The degree to which the proposed action affects pub-lic health or safety3.Unique characteristics of the geographic area, such asproximity to historic or cultural resources, park lands,prime farmlands, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers, orecologically critical areas4.The degree to which the effects on the quality of thehuman environment are likely to be controversial5.The degree to which the possible effects on the humanenvironment are uncertain or involve unique or un-known risks6.The degree to which the action may establish a prece-dent for future actions with significant effects or rep-resents a decision in principle about a future consid-eration7.Whether the action is related to other actions with in-dividually insignificant but cumulatively significantimpacts (Significance exists if a cumulatively signifi-cant impact on the environment is anticipated.Significance cannot be avoided by terming an actiontemporary or by breaking it down into componentparts)8.The degree to which the action may adversely affectdistricts, sites, highways, structures, or objects listedin or eligible for listing in the
National Register of Historic Places
or may cause loss or destruction of sig-nificant scientific, cultural, or historical resources9.The degree to which the action may adversely affectan endangered or threatened species or its habitat thathas been determined to be critical under the Endan-gered Species Act of 1973
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FEDERAL ACTION(1508.18)CATEGORICALEXCLUSION(1508.4)NON-CATEGORICALEXCLUSIONLEVEL 1ENVIRONMENTALASSESSMENT(1508.9)LEVEL 2NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT(FONSI)(1508.13)SIGNIFICANTIMPACT(1508.27)LEVEL 3EIS(1508.11)
Three levels of analysis in the EIA process. Numberin parentheses denotes paragraph in CEQ regulations which con-tains definition (Council on Environmental Quality 1987).