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Environmental NEPA Act


Authority: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; E.O. 11514, 34 FR 4247, as amended by E.O. 11991, 42 FR 26927; E.O. 12114, 44 FR 1957; 5 U.S.C. 301; 40 CFR 1507.3.

Source: 48 FR 11403, Mar. 18, 1983, unless otherwise noted.

  • 1b.1 Purpose.

    (a) This subpart supplements the regulations for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for which regulations were published by the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) in 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508. The subpart incorporates and adopts those regulations

    (b) This subpart sets forth Departmental policy concerning NEPA, establishes categorical exclusions of actions carried out by the Department and its agencies, and sets forth those USDA agencies which are excluded from the requirement to prepare procedures implementing NEPA.

  • 1b.2 Policy.

(a) USDA agencies carry out programs for the purpose of encouraging sufficient and efficient production of food, fiber, and forest products; proper management and conservation of the Nation's natural resources; and the protection of consumers through inspection services. Programs to meet this mission are carried out through research; education; technical and financial assistance to landowners and operators, producers, and consumers; and management of the National Forest System.

(b) All policies and programs of the various USDA agencies shall be planned, developed, and implemented so as to achieve the goals and to follow the procedures declared by NEPA in order to assure responsible stewardship of the environment for present and future generations.

(c) Each USDA agency is responsible for compliance with the provisions of this subpart, the regulations of CEQ, and the provisions of NEPA. Compliance will include the preparation and implementation of specific procedures and processes relating to the programs and activities of the individual agency, as necessary.

(d) The Assistant Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment (NR&E), is responsible for ensuring that agency implementing procedures are consistent with CEQ's NEPA regulations and for coordinating NEPA compliance for the Department (7 CFR 2.19(b)). The Assistant Secretary, through the USDA Natural Resources and Environment Committee, will develop the necessary processes to be used by the Office of the Secretary in reviewing, implementing, and planning its NEPA activities, determinations, and policies.

(e) In connection with the policies and requirements set forth in this subpart, all USDA agencies are responsible for compliance with Executive Order 12114, ``Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions.'' Compliance will include the preparation and implementation of specific procedures and processes relative to the programs and activities of the individual agencies, as necessary. Agencies shall consult with the Department of State; the Council on Environmental Quality; and the Assistant Secretary, NR&E, prior to placing procedures and processes in effect.

  • 1b.3 Categorical exclusions.

    (a) The following are categories of activities which have been determined not to have a significant individual or cumulative effect on the human environment and are excluded from the preparation of environmental assessment (EA's) or environmental impact statement (EIS's), unless individual agency procedures prescribed otherwise.

    (1) Policy development, planning and implementation which relate to routine activities, such as personnel, organizational changes, or similar administrative functions;

    (2) Activities which deal solely with the funding of programs, such as program budget proposals, disbursements, and transfer or reprogramming of funds;

    (3) Inventories, research activities, and studies, such as resource inventories and routine data collection when such actions are clearly limited in context and intensity;

    (4) Educational and informational programs and activities;

    (5) Civil and criminal law enforcement and investigative activities;

    (6) Activities which are advisory and consultative to other agencies and public and private entities, such as legal counseling and representation;

    (7) Activities related to trade representation and market development activities abroad.

    (b) Agencies will identify in their own procedures the activities which normally would not require an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    (c) Notwithstanding the exclusions listed above and in • 1b.4, or identified in agency procedures, agency heads may determine that circumstances dictate the need for preparation of an EA or EIS for a particular action. Agencies shall continue to scrutinize their activities to determine continued eligibility for categorical exclusion.

  • 1b.4 Exclusion of agencies.

    (a) The USDA agencies listed below carry out programs and activities which have been found to have no individual or cumulative effect on the human environment. These agencies are excluded from the requirements to prepare implementing procedures. Actions of these agencies are categorically excluded from the preparation of an EA or EIS unless the agency head determines that an action may have a significant environmental effect.

    (1) Agricultural Cooperative Service,
    (2) Agricultural Marketing Service,
    (3) Extension Service,
    (4) Economic Research Service,
    (5) Federal Crop Insurance Corporation,
    (6) Federal Grain Inspection Service,
    (7) Food and Nutrition Service,
    (8) Food Safety and Inspection Service,
    (9) Foreign Agricultural Service,
    (10) Office of Transportation,
    (11) Packers and Stockyards Administration,
    (12) Statistical Reporting Service,
    (13) Office of General Counsel,
    (14) Office of Inspector General,
    (15) National Agricultural Library.


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