What is the Five Step Process for the Circ-Williston EIS?
Scoping is the first step in the EIS
Documentation of the scoping process, which was completed in 2005, is provided in the Scoping Memorandum.
2. Screening a Long List of Potential Project Alternatives
The consideration of all reasonable
project alternatives is required by National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) and provides opportunities to avoid environmental
impacts. At the same time, all of the alternatives must meet
the Purpose and Need of the project.
The short list of project alternatives
identified through the screening process were studied in
detail in the Draft EIS (DEIS). These alternatives were
subject to the intensive studies defined by project scoping
and carried out within the framework of NEPA and Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) guidelines for an EIS. The impact analysis covered direct impacts, indirect impacts, construction-period
impacts, and cumulative impacts of the project on the environment.
Cumulative impact analysis considered the project in combination
with all other planned or foreseeable projects; in the case
of Circ-Williston, improvements outside the project area such
as Circ-Colchester were part of the cumulative analysis.
4. Preparation of the Draft EIS
The FHWA has well-established guidelines
for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act in
terms of both process and content of the EIS document. These
guidelines include a detailed outline of topics that form
the sections of the EIS. As noted under Scoping, the intent
of NEPA is to focus on significant issues and avoid detailed
study of topics having no issues or impacts. Therefore, the
actual contents of the DEIS and amount of detail provided
under each topic will vary greatly with each project. The
content of a “typical” EIS, however, is presented
below, as outlined in the FHWA Technical Advisory T 6640.8A
(October 30, 1987), Guidance for Preparing and Processing
Environmental and Section 4(f) Documents.
Typical Contents of EIS Documents
under FHWA Regulations
H. List of Preparers
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5. Response to Comments and Preparation of Final EIS (FEIS) With Preferred Alternative
Distribution of the FEIS is followed by a minimum 30-day review period, after which the ultimate decision about the future of the project can be made. This decision is set forth in a Record of Decision (ROD) by the FHWA. The ROD explains the reasons for the project decision, based on the information contained in the EIS.