Regulations and Assessments
TITLE 40--PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT
CHAPTER V--COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY NEPA REGULATIONS
PART 1508 - TERMINOLOGY AND INDEX
The terminology of this part shall be uniform throughout the Federal Government.
"Act" means the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (42 USC 4321, et seq.) which is also referred to as "NEPA."
"Affecting" means will or may have an effect on.
1508.4 Categorical exclusion.
"Categorical exclusion" means a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a Federal agency in implementation of these regulations (§1507.3) and for which, therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required. An agency may decide in its procedures or otherwise, to prepare environmental assessments for the reasons stated in §1508.9 even though it is not required to do so. Any procedures under this section shall provide for extraordinary circumstances in which a normally excluded action may have a significant environmental effect.
1508.5 Cooperating agency.
"Cooperating agency" means any Federal agency other than a lead agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved in a proposal (or a reasonable alternative) for legislation or other major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The selection and responsibilities of a cooperating agency are described in §1501.6. A State or local agency of similar qualifications or, when the effects are on a reservation, an Indian Tribe, may by agreement with the lead agency become a cooperating agency.
"Council" means the Council on Environmental Quality established by title II of the Act.
1508.7 Cumulative impact.
"Cumulative impact" is the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time.
Effects and impacts as used in these regulations are synonymous. Effects includes ecological (such as the effects on natural resources and on the components, structures, and functioning of affected ecosystems), aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, or health, whether direct, indirect, or cumulative. Effects may also include those resulting from actions which may have both beneficial and detrimental effects, even if on balance the agency believes that the effect will be beneficial.
1508.9 Environmental assessment.
1508.10 Environmental document.
"Environmental document" includes the documents specified in §1508.9 (environmental assessment), §1508.11 (environmental impact statement), §1508.13 (finding of no significant impact), and §1508.22 (notice of intent).
1508.11 Environmental impact statement.
"Environmental impact statement" means a detailed written statement as required by section 102(2)(C) of the Act.
1508.12 Federal agency.
"Federal agency" means all agencies of the Federal Government. It does not mean the Congress, the Judiciary, or the President, including the performance of staff functions for the President in his Executive Office. It also includes for purposes of these regulations States and units of general local government and Indian tribes assuming NEPA responsibilities under section 104(h) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
1508.13 Finding of no significant impact.
"Finding of no significant impact" means a document by a Federal agency briefly presenting the reasons why an action, not otherwise excluded (§1508.4), will not have a significant effect on the human environment and for which an environmental impact statement therefore will not be prepared. It shall include the environmental assessment or a summary of it and shall note any other environmental documents related to it (§1501.7(a)(5)). If the assessment is included, the finding need not repeat any of the discussion in the assessment but may incorporate it by reference.
1508.14 Human environment.
"Human environment" shall be interpreted comprehensively to include the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment. (See the definition of "effects" (§1508.8).) This means that economic or social effects are not intended by themselves to require preparation of an environmental impact statement. When an environmental impact statement is prepared and economic or social and natural or physical environmental effects are interrelated, then the environmental impact statement will discuss all of these effects on the human environment.
1508.15 Jurisdiction by law.
"Jurisdiction by law" means agency authority to approve, veto, or finance all or part of the proposal.
1508.16 Lead agency.
"Lead agency" means the agency or agencies preparing or having taken primary responsibility for preparing the environmental impact statement.
"Legislation" includes a bill or legislative proposal to Congress developed by or with the significant cooperation and support of a Federal agency, but does not include requests for appropriations. The test for significant cooperation is whether the proposal is in fact predominantly that of the agency rather than another source. Drafting does not by itself constitute significant cooperation. Proposals for legislation include requests for ratification of treaties. Only the agency which has primary responsibility for the subject matter involved will prepare a legislative environmental impact statement.
1508.18 Major Federal action.
"Major Federal action" includes actions with effects that may be major and which are potentially subject to Federal control and responsibility. Major reinforces but does not have a meaning independent of significantly (§1508.27). Actions include the circumstance where the responsible officials fail to act and that failure to act is reviewable by courts or administrative tribunals under the Administrative Procedure Act or other applicable law as agency action.
"Matter" includes for purposes of part 1504:
1508.21 NEPA process.
"NEPA process" means all measures necessary for compliance with the requirements of section 2 and title I of NEPA.
1508.22 Notice of intent.
"Notice of intent" means a notice that an environmental impact statement will be prepared and considered. The notice shall briefly:
"Proposal" exists at that stage in the development of an action when an agency subject to the Act has a goal and is actively preparing to make a decision on one or more alternative means of accomplishing that goal and the effects can be meaningfully evaluated. Preparation of an environmental impact statement on a proposal should be timed (§1502.5) so that the final statement may be completed in time for the statement to be included in any recommendation or report on the proposal. A proposal may exist in fact as well as by agency declaration that one exists.
1508.24 Referring agency.
"Referring agency" means the federal agency which has referred any matter to the Council after a determination that the matter is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of public health or welfare or environmental quality.
Scope consists of the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be considered in an environmental impact statement. The scope of an individual statement may depend on its relationships to other statements (§1502.20 and 1508.28). To determine the scope of environmental impact statements, agencies shall consider 3 types of actions, 3 types of alternatives, and 3 types of impacts. They include:
1508.26 Special expertise.
"Special expertise" means statutory responsibility, agency mission, or related program experience.
"Significantly" as used in NEPA requires considerations of both context and intensity:
"Tiering" refers to the coverage of general matters in broader environmental impact statements (such as national program or policy statements) with subsequent narrower statements or environmental analyses (such as regional or basinwide program statements or ultimately site-specific statements) incorporating by reference the general discussions and concentrating solely on the issues specific to the statement subsequently prepared. Tiering is appropriate when the sequence of statements or analyses is:
Last Modified: January 22, 2009