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Environmental Standard Operating Procedures

FTA's Office of Environmental Policy and Programs developed environmental standard operating procedures (SOPs) to provide additional direction and recommendations to FTA staff who manage the environmental review process. The environmental review process SOPs supplement existing resources, such as FTA environmental regulations and various guidance documents. While initially developed for FTA staff, sponsors of FTA-funded projects may also find these SOPs useful.

The SOPs are listed and can be accessed individually in the table below. The table also indicates each SOP’s applicability to categorical exclusions (CEs), environmental assessments (EAs), and environmental impact statements (EISs).

SOP No. SOP Name Purpose Applicability (CE, EA, EIS)
00 SOPs Introduction and Background Describes the applicability/ scope of the SOPs including general responsibilities and references. CE, EA, EIS
1 Environmental Project File and Considerations for Administrative Records Provides guidance to ensure that FTA has records of all necessary written materials, electronic or hard copy, that pertain to FTA’s environmental review process for a project. CE, EA, EIS
2 Project Initiation and Determining NEPA Class of Action Provides guidance for the earliest phase of the environmental review process for FTA projects. CE, EA, EIS
3 Early Scoping Provides guidance on early scoping, an optional step in the public planning and environmental processes that precedes formal NEPA scoping. CE, EA, EIS
4 Purpose and Need Provides guidance on the purpose and need statements, which provide the rationale and justification for undertaking a major Federal action and forms the basis for the range of alternatives to be studied in the environmental document. EA, EIS
5 Alternatives Provides guidance on the identification, development, and evaluation of alternatives in the environmental review process. EA, EIS
6 Notice of Intent Provides guidance on the preparation of a notice of intent (NOI), which announces that FTA and other lead agencies intend to prepare an environmental impact statement.  EIS
7 Scoping Provides guidance on scoping—an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to a proposed action. EA, EIS
8 Annotated Outline Provides guidance on the development of annotated outlines, which can be used to create the framework for the environmental document. EA, EIS
9 Review and Distribution of Environmental Assessments Provides guidance for the review and processing of environmental assessments for actions in which the significance of environmental impacts is not clearly established. EA
10 Managing Content, Review, and Distribution of Environmental Impact Statements Provides guidance on the drafting and processing of environmental impact statements required for any action that significantly affects the quality of the human (including natural) environment.  This SOP also discusses combined final environmental impact statement/record of decision documents. EIS
11 Receiving and Responding to Public and Agency Comments Provides guidance on the public and agency comment process for the environmental review process. EA, EIS
12 Documentation of Mitigation Commitments Provides guidance on consideration and documentation of mitigation commitments for impacts identified through the environmental review process. CE, EA, EIS
13 Findings of No Significant Impact Provides guidance on preparing a finding of no significant impact based on an environmental assessment that identifies no significant impacts. EA
14 Record of Decision Provides guidance on preparing a record of decision, the decision document for an environmental impact statement. EIS
15 Limitations on Claims Provides guidance on FTA publication of a Limitation on Claims notice in the Federal Register announcing that FTA has taken a final agency action on a project, thereby limiting legal claims against that project. CE, EA, EIS
16 Review and File Management of Categorical Exclusions Provides guidance on the review and application of categorical exclusions for projects.  CE
17 Re-Evaluations and Supplemental Documents Provides guidance on re-evaluations and supplemental documents to determine whether a completed environmental document or decision requires supplemental analysis. CE, EA, EIS
18 Section 4(f) Evaluations Provides guidance on the recommended timing of the Section 4(f) processes and to improve understanding in the transit context. CE, EA, EIS
19 Consideration of Contaminated Properties including Brownfields Provides guidance on assessment and acquisition considerations for property that is or may be contaminated (brownfields or suspected brownfields). CE, EA, EIS
20 Agency Roles and Government-to-Government Coordination Provides guidance on agency roles and responsibilities during the environmental review process. CE, EA, EIS
21 Section 106 Process Provides guidance on agency roles, responsibilities, and consultation procedures in the Section 106 process. CE, EA, EIS
22 Water Resources Provides guidance on agency roles, responsibilities, and consultation procedures for water resources. CE, EA, EIS
23 Biological Resources Provides information on agency roles, responsibilities, and consultation procedures for biological resources under numerous requirements. (NEW as of December 2019) CE, EA, EIS
Last updated: Thursday, January 4, 2024
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