Title 23

SECTION 771.125

771.125 Final environmental impact statements.

§ 771.125 Final environmental impact statements.

(a)(1) After circulation of a draft EIS and consideration of comments received, a final EIS must be prepared by the lead agencies, in cooperation with the applicant (if not a lead agency). The final EIS must identify the preferred alternative and evaluate all reasonable alternatives considered. It must also discuss substantive comments received on the draft EIS and responses thereto, summarize public involvement, and describe the mitigation measures that are to be incorporated into the proposed action. Mitigation measures presented as commitments in the final EIS will be incorporated into the project as specified in paragraphs (b) and (d) of § 771.109. The final EIS should also document compliance, to the extent possible, with all applicable environmental laws and executive orders, or provide reasonable assurance that their requirements can be met.

(2) Every reasonable effort must be made to resolve interagency disagreements on actions before processing the final EIS. If significant issues remain unresolved, the final EIS must identify those issues and the consultations and other efforts made to resolve them.

(b) The final EIS will be reviewed for legal sufficiency prior to Administration approval.

(c) The Administration will indicate approval of the EIS for an action by signing and dating the cover page. Final EISs prepared for actions in the following categories will be submitted to the Administration's Headquarters for prior concurrence:

(1) Any action for which the Administration determines that the final EIS should be reviewed at the Headquarters office. This would typically occur when the Headquarters office determines that:

(i) Additional coordination with other Federal, State or local governmental agencies is needed;

(ii) The social, economic, or environmental impacts of the action may need to be more fully explored;

(iii) The impacts of the proposed action are unusually great; (iv) major issues remain unresolved; or

(iv) The action involves national policy issues.

(2) Any action to which a Federal, State or local government agency has indicated opposition on environmental grounds (which has not been resolved to the written satisfaction of the objecting agency).

(d) Approval of the final EIS is not an Administration action as defined in § 771.107 and does not commit the Administration to approve any future request for financial assistance to fund the preferred alternative.

(e) The initial publication of the final EIS must be in sufficient quantity to meet the request for copies that can be reasonably expected from agencies, organizations, and individuals. Normally, copies will be furnished free of charge. However, with Administration concurrence, the party requesting the final EIS may be charged a fee that is not more than the actual cost of reproducing the copy or may be directed to the nearest location where the statement may be reviewed.

(f) The final EIS must be transmitted to any persons, organizations, or agencies that made substantive comments on the draft EIS or requested a copy, no later than the time the document is filed with EPA. In the case of lengthy documents, the agency may provide alternative circulation processes in accordance with 40 CFR 1502.19. The applicant must also publish a notice of availability in local newspapers and make the final EIS available through the mechanism established pursuant to DOT Order 4600.13, which implements Executive Order 12372. When filed with EPA, the final EIS must be available for public review at the applicant's offices and at appropriate Administration offices. A copy should also be made available for public review at institutions such as local government offices, libraries, and schools, as appropriate. To minimize hardcopy requests and printing costs, the Administration encourages the use of project websites or other publicly accessible electronic means to make the final EIS available.

(g) The final EIS may take the form of an errata sheet pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 139(n)(1) and 40 CFR 1503.4(c).