40 CFR 1508 - CEQ - Regulations for Implementing NEPA
Authority: NEPA, the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970, as
amended (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.), sec. 309 of the Clean Air Act, as
amended (42 U.S.C. 7609), and E.O. 11514 (Mar. 5, 1970, as amended by E.O. 11991,
May 24, 1977).
Source: 43 FR 56003, Nov. 29, 1978, unless otherwise noted.
Sec. 1508.1 Terminology.
The terminology of this part shall be uniform throughout the Federal
Sec. 1508.2 Act.
"Act" means the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (42 U.S.C.
4321, et seq.) which is also referred to as "NEPA."
Sec. 1508.3 Affecting.
"Affecting" means will or may have an effect on.
Sec. 1508.4 Categorical exclusion.
"Categorical exclusion" means a category of actions which do not
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human
environment and which have been found to have no such effect in procedures
adopted by a Federal agency in implementation of these regulations (Sec.
1507.3) and for which, therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor
an environmental impact statement is required. An agency may decide in its
procedures or otherwise, to prepare environmental assessments for the
reasons stated in Sec. 1508.9 even though it is not required to do so. Any
procedures under this section shall provide for extraordinary circumstances in which
a normally excluded action may have a significant environmental effect.
Sec. 1508.5 Cooperating agency.
"Cooperating agency" means any Federal agency other than a lead agency
which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any
environmental impact involved in a proposal (or a reasonable alternative)
for legislation or other major Federal action significantly affecting the
quality of the human environment. The selection and responsibilities of a
cooperating agency are described in Sec. 1501.6. A State or local agency of similar
qualifications or, when the effects are on a reservation, an Indian Tribe,
may by agreement with the lead agency become a cooperating agency.
Sec. 1508.6 Council.
"Council" means the Council on Environmental Quality established by
Title II of the Act.
Sec. 1508.7 Cumulative impact.
"Cumulative impact" is the impact on the environment which results from
the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and
reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal
or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts
can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking
place over a period of time.
Sec. 1508.8 Effects.
Effects and impacts as used in these regulations are synonymous. Effects
includes ecological (such as the effects on natural resources and on the
components, structures, and functioning of affected ecosystems),
aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, or health, whether direct, indirect,
or cumulative. Effects may also include those resulting from actions which
may have both beneficial and detrimental effects, even if on balance the
agency believes that the effect will be beneficial.
Sec. 1508.9 Environmental assessment.
Sec. 1508.10 Environmental document.
"Environmental document" includes the documents specified in Sec. 1508.9
(environmental assessment), Sec. 1508.11 (environmental impact statement),
Sec. 1508.13 (finding of no significant impact), and Sec. 1508.22 (notice
Sec. 1508.11 Environmental impact statement.
"Environmental impact statement" means a detailed written statement as
required by section 102(2)(C) of the Act.
Sec. 1508.12 Federal agency.
"Federal agency" means all agencies of the Federal Government. It does
not mean the Congress, the Judiciary, or the President, including the
performance of staff functions for the President in his Executive Office. It also
includes for purposes of these regulations States and units of general
local government and Indian tribes assuming NEPA responsibilities under section
104(h) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
Sec. 1508.13 Finding of no significant impact.
"Finding of no significant impact" means a document by a Federal agency
briefly presenting the reasons why an action, not otherwise excluded (Sec.
1508.4), will not have a significant effect on the human environment and
for which an environmental impact statement therefore will not be prepared. It
shall include the environmental assessment or a summary of it and shall
note any other environmental documents related to it (Sec. 1501.7(a)(5)). If
the assessment is included, the finding need not repeat any of the discussion
in the assessment but may incorporate it by reference.
Sec. 1508.14 Human environment.
"Human environment" shall be interpreted comprehensively to include the
natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that
environment. (See the definition of "effects" (Sec. 1508.8).) This means
economic or social effects are not intended by themselves to require
preparation of an environmental impact statement. When an environmental
impact statement is prepared and economic or social and natural or
environmental effects are interrelated, then the environmental impact
statement will discuss all of these effects on the human environment.
Sec. 1508.15 Jurisdiction by law.
"Jurisdiction by law" means agency authority to approve, veto, or
finance all or part of the proposal.
Sec. 1508.16 Lead agency.
"Lead agency" means the agency or agencies preparing or having taken
primary responsibility for preparing the environmental impact statement.
Sec. 1508.17 Legislation.
"Legislation" includes a bill or legislative proposal to Congress
developed by or with the significant cooperation and support of a Federal agency,
but does not include requests for appropriations. The test for significant
cooperation is whether the proposal is in fact predominantly that of the
agency rather than another source. Drafting does not by itself constitute
significant cooperation. Proposals for legislation include requests for
ratification of treaties. Only the agency which has primary responsibility
for the subject matter involved will prepare a legislative environmental
Sec. 1508.18 Major Federal action.
"Major Federal action" includes actions with effects that may be major
and which are potentially subject to Federal control and responsibility. Major
reinforces but does not have a meaning independent of significantly (Sec.
1508.27). Actions include the circumstance where the responsible officials
fail to act and that failure to act is reviewable by courts or
administrative tribunals under the Administrative Procedure Act or other applicable law
as agency action.
Sec. 1508.19 Matter.
"Matter" includes for purposes of Part 1504:
(a) With respect to the Environmental Protection Agency, any proposed
legislation, project, action or regulation as those terms are used in
section 309(a) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7609).
(b) With respect to all other agencies, any proposed major federal
action to which section 102(2)(C) of NEPA applies.
Sec. 1508.20 Mitigation.
Sec. 1508.21 NEPA process.
"NEPA process" means all measures necessary for compliance with the
requirements of section 2 and Title I of NEPA.
Sec. 1508.22 Notice of intent.
"Notice of intent" means a notice that an environmental impact statement
will be prepared and considered. The notice shall briefly:
Sec. 1508.23 Proposal.
"Proposal" exists at that stage in the development of an action when an
agency subject to the Act has a goal and is actively preparing to make a
decision on one or more alternative means of accomplishing that goal and
the effects can be meaningfully evaluated. Preparation of an environmental
impact statement on a proposal should be timed (Sec. 1502.5) so that the final
statement may be completed in time for the statement to be included in any
recommendation or report on the proposal. A proposal may exist in fact as
well as by agency declaration that one exists.
Sec. 1508.24 Referring agency.
"Referring agency" means the federal agency which has referred any
matter to the Council after a determination that the matter is unsatisfactory
from the standpoint of public health or welfare or environmental quality.
Sec. 1508.25 Scope.
Scope consists of the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be
considered in an environmental impact statement. The scope of an
individual statement may depend on its relationships to other statements
and 1508.28). To determine the scope of environmental impact statements,
agencies shall consider 3 types of actions, 3 types of alternatives, and 3
types of impacts. They include:
Sec. 1508.26 Special expertise.
"Special expertise" means statutory responsibility, agency mission, or
related program experience.
Sec. 1508.27 Significantly.
"Significantly" as used in NEPA requires considerations of both context
Sec. 1508.28 Tiering.
"Tiering" refers to the coverage of general matters in broader
environmental impact statements (such as national program or policy
statements) with subsequent narrower statements or environmental analyses
(such as regional or basinwide program statements or ultimately
statements) incorporating by reference the general discussions and
concentrating solely on the issues specific to the statement subsequently
prepared. Tiering is appropriate when the sequence of statements or