Record of Decision
What is contained in a Record of Decision?
The Record of Decision (ROD) is the conclusion of the NEPA EIS process. The ROD document is prepared after the final EIS and identifies the Preferred Alternative. The NEPA implementing regulations (40 CFR § 1505.2) state that a Record of Decision should contain:
- Statement of FTA’s environmental decision
- Identification of all alternatives considered by the agency, including the preferred alternative(s)
- Decision of all factors – economic, social, technical, environmental factors, financial considerations, and other New Starts considerations (23 CFR Part 771.127(a)).
- Discussion of national policies that were balanced in the decisionmaking process and how each factor weighted in the decision
- Explanation of whether the decision was designed to avoid or minimize environmental harm and, if not, why not
What findings should be included in the Record of Decision?
The ROD must make or reiterate all findings required by federal environmental laws and executive orders and briefly summarized the justification for the finding with reference to the final EIS. The findings may include, but are not limited, to the following:
- 23 CFR Part 771.127(a) – A Department of Transportation Act Section 4(f) finding that states a feasible and prudent alternative that avoids the sue of the resource and the project includes all possible measure to minimize harm to the resource, de minimis impact findings, and findings that there is no use of the resource by the project.
- 93 CFR Part 93.109 – If the project is in an air quality nonattainment or maintenance area, the project-level air quality conformity determination must be described.
- 16 USC § 1531 through 1544 – Findings under the Endangered Species Act regarding the conservation of ecosystems upon which threatened and endangered species of fish, wildlife, and plants depend.
- DOT Order 5650.2 – Findings under Floodplain Management and Protection that state whenever the project involves a significant encroachment into a 100-year floodplain.
- DOT Order 5660.1a – Findings under Preservation of the Nation’s Wetlands that are required for any project that involves long- and short-term adverse impacts in wetlands. Other executive orders should also be considered as part of this order.
- National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Section 106 requires a finding of “no historic properties are present or affected.” If the project has one or more adverse effects on historic properties, a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement should be included in the ROD.
Are the mitigation measures from the EIS included in the ROD?
Yes. The ROD briefly describes the mitigation measures now incorporated into the project to comply with statutes, regulations, and executive orders whose compliance resulted in mitigation commitments. A mitigation and monitoring plan should be prepared for the project and attatched to the ROD. In addition, the ROD should summarize the mitigation monitoring and enforcement program as required per 40 CFR Part 1505.2.