Title 45


640.4 Responsibilities and procedures for preparation of an environmental assessment.

§ 640.4 Responsibilities and procedures for preparation of an environmental assessment.

(a) Program Officers, as the first point of decision in the review process, shall determine into which category incoming proposals fall, according to the criteria set forth in § 640.3 of this part. Notwithstanding this responsibility of the Program Officer, the appropriate Division Director, Assistant Director, and other reviewing policy officials must assure that adequate analysis is being made.

(b) Where appropriate, programs, divisions, or directorates will advise prospective applicants in program announcements, requests for proposals, and other NSF-prepared brochures of the requirement to furnish information regarding any environmental impact that the applicant's proposed study may have.

(c) Should an environmental assessment be required, the directorate supporting the activity shall be responsible for its preparation. The grant or contract applicant may be asked to submit additional information in order that a reasonable and accurate assessment may be made. Though no specific format for an environmental assessment is prescribed, it shall be a separate document suitable for public review and shall serve the purpose described in 40 CFR 1508.9, which is quoted in full as follows:

Section 1508.9 Environmental Assessment

“Environmental Assessment”:

(a) Means a concise public document for which a Federal agency is responsible that serves to:

(1) Briefly provide sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact.

(2) Aid an agency's compliance with the Act when no environmental impact statement is necessary.

(3) Facilitate preparation of a statement when one is necessary.

(b) Shall include brief discussions of the need for the proposal, of alternatives as required by section 102(2)(E), of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives, and a listing of agencies and persons consulted.

(d) A copy of the assessment or drafts shall accompany the appropriate proposal throughout the NSF internal review and approval process. At the option of the directorate preparing the assessment, a draft may be submitted to the Committee for its review and comments. Prior to an award decision, one copy of all completed assessments shall be sent to the Chairman for review and updating of the Committee listing of assessments.

(e) If, on the basis of an environmental assessment, it is determined that an EIS is not required, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI) as described in 40 CFR 1508.13 will be prepared. The FNSI shall include the environmental assessment or a summary of it and be available to the public from the Committee. If the proposed action is one that normally requires an EIS, is closely similar to an action normally requiring an EIS, or is without precedent, the FNSI shall be made available for a 30 day public review period before any action is taken.