NPS Director's Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis and Decision Making
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Chimney Rock National Historic Site, NE8.3 NPS Review of Non-NPS NEPA Documents — Review Deadlines and Extension Requests

A. CEQ requirements; screening and review schedules

EISs and some other environmental documents have periods for review and comment set by law or regulation. Section 1506.10 of the CEQ regulations provides 45 days for review and comment on draft EISs and a 30-day no action period following release of final EISs. These times are calculated from the date that EPA publishes a notice of availability in the Federal Register. These notices normally appear in the Federal Register on Fridays and include the date when comments are due. The CEQ regulations (1501.9) require that EISs be filed with EPA no earlier than they are transmitted to agencies and the public for comment.

Review periods for revised and supplemental draft and final EISs of other agencies are calculated like those for draft and final EISs. Because agencies that circulate draft EISs are under no legal obligation to include in the final EIS comments received after the established deadline passes, you must comment within the set deadline if your concerns are to be given consideration.

When controlled documents arrive from the EQD for review, they should be screened quickly to determine deadlines and relative priority. Review preparation responsibility should be assigned immediately. If screening determines that the proposal is of no consequence to NPS areas of jurisdiction or expertise, and comments are to be routed to EQD or to another Interior bureau that has been designated as lead, a simple “no comment” response may be made. Such a response may be made in writing, or telephone or electronic no comment responses may be acceptable at the discretion of the lead agency.

Review schedules should provide intermediate offices such as EQD, OEPC, or other Interior lead bureaus sufficient time to review and process proposed comments. The possibility of mail delays and holiday and weekend “down time” should be considered.

B. Extensions

Extensions of review deadlines occasionally are needed because of unusual routing or mail delays; required field studies; necessary coordination with other federal, state, or local agencies; or the discovery of unforeseen problems with the proposal. Extensions are obtained from the other agency by OEPC (516 DM, 7B). The need for an extension should be determined early in the review process, and the extension should be requested shortly after receipt of the controlled document. The closer the deadline, the more difficult it normally is to obtain an extension. Deadline extensions should be requested only when you anticipate you will be making substantive comments, or when expected impacts require substantive field inspection or coordination.

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