Environmental Rulemaking News
- On August 23, 2019, USDOT published the “Interim Policy on One Federal Decision Implementation” and “Interim Policy on Page Limits for NEPA Documents and Focused Analyses” in the Federal Register. Although, the One Federal Decision (OFD) guidance applies specifically to “major infrastructure projects” (MIPs) following the OFD process, the concepts contained within the document can be applied to non-OFD projects. The page limits guidance applies to environmental impact statements (EIS) and environmental assessments (EA) initiated after the August 23rd publication and limits EISs to 150 pages (or 300 pages for EISs of unusual scope or complexity) and EAs to 75 pages.
- The Program Comment to Exempt Consideration of Effects to Rail Properties within Rail Rights-of-Way is an alternate method for certain activities affecting rail properties located within railroad and rail transit right-of-way to comply with the requirements of Section 106 that went into effect on August 24, 2018. Please visit the Environmental Programs page for more information.
- USDOT issued a Federal Register notice on October 29, 2018 for the “Environmental Impact and Related Procedures” final rule that amends FHWA and FTA regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 4(f) requirements: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-10-29/pdf/2018-23286.pdf. The final rule implements changes resulting from MAP-21 and the FAST Act to the FHWA/FTA regulations implementing NEPA (23 CFR part 771) and Section 4(f) requirements (23 CFR part 774). In addition, the rule will add FRA to 23 CFR parts 771 and 774, which will allow greater efficiency for multimodal projects with railroad project components. Some noteworthy changes include Cross-Agency CE use and new Section 4(f) Exemptions. The revisions to the NEPA and 4(f) regulations are effective November 28, 2018. Guidance is currently under development.
This page provides guidance to support grantee reviews and FTA compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA process is intended to help public officials make decisions that are based on an understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment. NEPA mandates must be met before FTA can approve applications for federal financial assistance. FTA's environmental analysis and review process outlines how the agency complies with NEPA, which applies to all federal undertakings. Other useful tools for NEPA analysis include the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) general NEPA guidance and NEPAssist Tool.
The first step in the NEPA review process is determining the Class of Action (COA), which directs the depth and breadth of review, based on the "what," "where," "why," "when," and "how" of your project. The three NEPA COAs are defined in the FTA regulations at 23 CFR 771.115.
The following documents will provide guidance in determining the level of review and documentation development necessary for the FTA NEPA process:
- FTA NEPA Training Presentation
- Categorical Exclusion
- FTA Region 5 Categorical Exclusion Checklist
- Environmental Assessment
- Environmental Impact Statement
- FTA Environmental Impact and Related Procedures Updates
Please visit FTA’s Environmental Resource Information for additional guidance in preparing NEPA documentation. Direct links to FTA guidance on select areas of analysis as well as resources specific to Region 5 are provided below.
Tribal consultation may be required for all types of NEPA projects if they affect tribal lands or interests. Projects involving historic resources must follow the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 Process. Additionally, projects that may impact publicly owned parks, recreational areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and/or public and private historical sites must comply with the requirements of Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act. Contact Jay Ciavarella, Director of Planning & Program Development, at (312) 353-1653 with additional questions.
Tribal Consultation Resources
- List of Federally and State Recognized Tribes
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Tribal Directory Assessment Tool
- National Park Service’s Native American Consultation Database
- National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers Best Practices Publication
National Historic Preservation Act – Section 106
- FTA Region 5 Section 106 Training
- Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
- Indiana State Historic Preservation Office
- Ohio Historic Preservation Office
- Michigan State Historic Preservation Office
- Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office
- Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office
- Navigable Waterways
- Region 5 state contacts for compliance with the Coastal Barriers Resource Act (Indiana and Illinois do not have designated coastal barrier areas):
- Region 5 state contacts for compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act
- Sole Source Aquifer
- EPA’s Region 5 Mapping Tool
Other Considerations & Resources
- Air Quality Conformity
- Endangered Species Act
- Environmental Justice
- EPA’s EJ Screening Tool
- Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change
- Farmlands Protection Policy Act. The Farmlands Protection Policy Act (FPPA) is intended to minimize the impact federal programs have on the unnecessary and irreversible conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses.
- Hazardous Materials and Brownfields
- Magnuson-Stevens Act and Essential Fish Habitat
- Migratory Bird Treaty Act
- Noise and Vibration
- Property Acquisition
- Section 6(f) of Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Using zero taxpayer dollars, the fund invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help strengthen communities, preserve our history and protect our national endowment of lands and waters. Section 6(f)(3) of the LWCF Act contains strong provisions to protect Federal investments and the quality of assisted resources.
- LWCF Mapping Tool
- United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)