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Environmental Standard Operating Procedures

FTA's Office of Environmental Programs developed 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. The SOPs, combined in the pdf above, are listed and can be accesed individually in the table below.

SOP No.SOP NamePurpose
00SOPs Introduction and BackgroundDescribes the applicability/ scope of the SOPs including general responsibilities and references.
1Environmental Project File and Considerations for Administrative RecordsProvides 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.
2Project Initiation and Determining NEPA Class of ActionProvides guidance for the earliest phase of the environmental review process for FTA projects.
3Early ScopingProvides guidance on early scoping, an optional step in the public planning and environmental processes that precedes formal NEPA scoping.
4Purpose and NeedProvides 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.
5AlternativesProvides guidance on the identification, development, and evaluation of alternatives in the environmental review process.
6Notice of IntentProvides 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. 
7ScopingProvides 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.
8Annotated OutlineProvides guidance on the development of annotated outlines, which can be used to create the framework for the environmental document.
9Review and Distribution of Environmental AssessmentsProvides guidance for the review and processing of environmental assessments for actions in which the significance of environmental impacts is not clearly established.
10Managing Content, Review, and Distribution of Environmental Impact StatementsProvides 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.
11Receiving and Responding to Public and Agency CommentsProvides guidance on the public and agency comment process for the environmental review process.
12Documentation of Mitigation CommitmentsProvides guidance on consideration and documentation of mitigation commitments for impacts identified through the environmental review process.
13Findings of No Significant ImpactProvides guidance on preparing a finding of no significant impact based on an environmental assessment that identifies no significant impacts.
14Record of DecisionProvides guidance on preparing a record of decision, the decision document for an environmental impact statement.
15Limitations on ClaimsProvides 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.
16Review and File Management of Categorical ExclusionsProvides guidance on the review and application of categorical exclusions for projects. 
17Re-Evaluations and Supplemental DocumentsProvides guidance on re-evaluations and supplemental documents to determine whether a completed environmental document or decision requires supplemental analysis.
18Section 4(f) EvaluationsProvides guidance on the recommended timing of the Section 4(f) processes and to improve understanding in the transit context.
19Consideration of Contaminated Properties including BrownfieldsProvides guidance on assessment and acquisition considerations for property that is or may be contaminated (brownfields or suspected brownfields).
20Agency Roles and Government-to-Government CoordinationProvides guidance on agency roles and responsibilities during the environmental review process.
21Section 106 ProcessProvides guidance on agency roles, responsibilities, and consultation procedures in the Section 106 process.
22Water ResourcesProvides guidance on agency roles, responsibilities, and consultation procedures for water resources.
23Biological ResourcesProvides information on agency roles, responsibilities, and consultation procedures for biological resources under numerous requirements. (NEW as of December 2019)
Last updated: Friday, March 29, 2019
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