|5.2 Environmental Assessments When to Prepare an EA|
|Introduction | When to Prepare an EA | Length of an EA | Format and Content of an EA | Public Involvement | Administrative Process of Review of EAs|
An EA should be prepared if:
If a proposal analyzed by an EA is found to have significant impacts, instead of requiring an EIS, CEQ (Q40) allows agencies to employ mitigation to reduce impacts to below significance in case of any of the following:
(a) the mitigation is imposed by statute or regulation.
The effectiveness and enforceability of the mitigation must be guaranteed, and a new EA analyzing only the impacts of the mitigated or changed proposal must be prepared. CEQ refers to this as a mitigated EA.
CEQ warns against trying to avoid an EIS rather
than reducing impact through mitigated EAs. If you need several
mitigation measures to avoid a significant impact, or if the mitigation
measures are highly speculative or distant in time, you should carefully
consider preparing an EIS instead of a mitigated EA. As an example: Construction
of a proposed parking lot would result in a loss of a large number of
old growth trees. In order to mitigate the loss, the park proposes planting
seedlings and waiting 500 years for the lost tree stand to be replaced.
This effort at mitigation is too speculative and distant to adequately
lessen the significance of the impact.