The appropriate level of review under NEPA depends on the context and intensity of the potential environmental impacts, which fall into three different levels of analysis, including a Categorical Exclusion determination (CX), Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact (EA/FONSI) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Learn More About:
Categorical Exclusion (CX): CXs are “classes of actions that DOE has determined do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment” (10 CFR 1024.410(a)). Those classes of actions are listed in 10 CFR 1021 Appendix A and B.
Environmental Assessment (EA): An EA is a “concise public document” that is prepared when an agency is unsure whether potential environmental impacts will be significant or “in order to assist agency planning and decision making” (40 CFR 1501.3(b)). If an EA finds that there is no significant impact, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is issued. Otherwise, preparation of an EIS is required.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): When DOE determines that potential environmental impacts of a proposed major federal action may be significant, DOE prepares a "detailed statement" also known as an EIS.
Public Participation: In addition to promoting transparency, public involvement is crucial for facilitating better decision-making.