Navy Base Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at the Former Charleston Naval Complex (CNC) in North Charleston, South Carolina

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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Flow Chart

Overview

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is the cornerstone of our Nation's environmental laws and was enacted to ensure that information on the identification and analysis of potential environmental impacts of any federal, or federally funded, action is available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken. NEPA assures that environmental factors are considered equally with the technical and engineering components of a decision. NEPA requires federal agencies to identify all potential environmental effects and any adverse effects that cannot be avoided and to evaluate alternatives to the proposed action.

NEPA is a "full disclosure" law with provisions for public access to and full participation in the federal decision-making process. The act's intent is to protect, restore, or enhance the environment through well-informed federal decisions. There will be three major NEPA compliance documents associated with this action:

  • A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which evaluates and analyzes significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts of alternative actions, was prepared and made available for review and public comment. It includes analyses of effects on a host of resources (including natural resources [water, air, plants, and animals], cultural resources, land use, recreation, aesthetics, and the socioeconomic environment). It includes a description of the baseline environmental and socioeconomic conditions against which effects of the proposed actions are evaluated. It also identifies potential consequences and appropriate mitigation (methods to lessen adverse impacts) measures.
  • A Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will address public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and recommend mitigation actions for significant impacts.
  • A Record of Decision (ROD), which documents the final decision on the proposed action and specifies the needed mitigation measures and monitoring programs on the basis of the information presented in the EIS.

Primary Stages During the NEPA Process

The EIS process includes five primary stages, each involving a series of related activities, and all allowing for input from the public:

Step One - Notice of Intent

The process begins with a Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register (Notice of Intent for EIS) 102313

Step Two - Scoping Period

During the scoping period the Corps solicits and gathers comments related to the scope of the EIS. Comments are provided from the public and agencies during the scoping period. Comments can be submitted online, via email, by mail, and in the form of spoken or written comments at a public scoping meeting.

An initial scoping period took place from November 14, 2013 to December 14, 2013, to solicit public comments regarding the proposed project. A second scoping period was open from October 27, 2015 through November 27, 2015, in order to solicit public comments regarding revisions to the proposed project.

All comments made during the scoping period have been entered into the project record and will be used to develop the EIS.

A summary of comments received during the 2013 public scoping period for the EIS can be viewed in the Scoping Meeting Report-May 2014.

A summary of comments received during the 2015 public scoping period for the EIS can be viewed in the Scoping Meeting Report – February 2016.

Step Three - Public Review of Draft EIS

The Corps prepared a Draft EIS and made it available to the public for review and comment on April 29, 2016. The completion of the Draft EIS was announced in the Federal Register on April 29, 2016 through a Notice of Availability and through a Public Notice process. The Public Notice included specific information about the Draft EIS Comment Period, including a time frame, location of the public hearing, and information about how comments could be submitted.

A Public Hearing took place at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, at the Military Magnet Academy Cafeteria, 2950 Carner Avenue, North Charleston, SC. The open house and public hearing provided an opportunity for the public and interested stakeholders to discuss the Proposed Project with the Corps and to provide written and verbal comments about the Draft EIS, respectively. Public Comments on the Draft EIS were accepted from April 29 through July 9, 2016.

Step Four - Final EIS

After the Draft EIS Comment Period, a Final EIS is prepared. This document includes descriptions of public comments and indicates how they were addressed in the Final EIS. A Notice of Availability is posted in the Federal Register announcing the completion of the Final EIS.

Step Five - Record of Decision

No sooner than 30 days after the Final EIS is published in the Federal Register, the Corps will prepare a Record of Decision describing their decision regarding the proposed action.

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) offers more information on NEPA including the following: