Environmental Impact Statements on Policies, Plans or Programs

24a. When are EISs required on policies, plans or programs ?


An EIS must be prepared if an agency proposes to implement a specific policy, to adopt a plan for a group of related actions, or to implement a specific statutory program or executive directive. Section 1508.18. In addition, the adoption of official policy in the form of rules, regulations and interpretations pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, treaties, conventions, or other formal documents establishing governmental or agency policy which will substantially alter agency programs, could require an EIS. Section 1508.18. In these cases, the policy, plan, or program must have the potential for significantly affecting the quality of the human environment in order to require an EIS. It should be noted that a proposal "may exist in fact as well as be agency declaration that one exists." Section 1508.23.

24b. When is an area-wide or overview EIS appropriate?


The preparation of an area-wide or overview EIS may be particularly useful when similar actions, viewed with other reasonably foreseeable or proposed agency actions, share common timing or geography. For example, when a variety of energy projects may be located in a single watershed, or when a series of new energy technologies may be developed through federal funding, the overview or area-wide EIS would serve as a valuable and necessary analysis of the affected environment and the potential cumulative impacts of the reasonably foreseeable actions under that program or within that geographical area.

It also includes proposals for action such as the initiation of a planning process, or a formally adopted policy statement of the local, regional or state executive branch, even if it has not been formally adopted by the local, regional or state legislative body.

24c. What is the function of tiering in such cases?


Tiering is a procedure which allows an agency to avoid duplication of paperwork through the incorporation by reference of general discussions and relevant specific discussion from an environmental impact statement of broader scope into one of lesser scope or vice versa. In the example given in Question 24b, this would mean that an overview EIS would be prepared for all of the energy activities reasonably foreseeable in a particular geographic area or resulting from a particular development program. This impact statement would be followed by site-specific or project-specific EISs. The tiering process would make each EIS of greater use and meaning to the public as the plan or program develops without duplication of the analysis prepared for the previous impact statement.


  • Home
  • Federal Register
  • Fed Land Management Laws
  • Fed Land Management Reports
  • Archives
  • Disclaimer
  • About us
  • Contact Us
  •   Copyright 2000-2020 Contact Us / Disclaimer