The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a federal statute that requires federal agencies to use a systematic, interdisciplinary approach for considering the potential environmental impacts of a proposed action and factoring them into the decision-making process. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Regulations for implementing NEPA set the standards for NEPA compliance and direct federal agencies to develop their own procedures. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Order 1050.1F provides the FAA’s agency-wide policies and procedures for ensuring compliance with NEPA and the CEQ Regulations.
Pursuant to FAA Order 1050.1F, Paragraph 3-1.3, the Proposed Project requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS is a detailed written statement that defines the purpose and need for a project, considers a range of reasonable alternatives, analyzes the potential impacts of a proposed project and its alternatives, and demonstrates compliance with other Executive Orders and environmental statutes. The EIS will enable the FAA to analyze and document potential environmental effects from the Proposed Project and alternatives and develop measures that may mitigate those effects. The FAA published in the Federal Register on March 22 2018, a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS, open a comment period, and hold agency and public scoping meetings.
The FAA intends to use the preparation of this EIS to comply with other applicable environmental laws and regulations as identified through the environmental analysis. The FAA will provide more specific public notice of the environmental laws, regulations, and Executive Orders being satisfied through the EIS as the environmental consequences of the Proposed Project and its alternatives are better understood.
The EIS follows a process prescribed by the CEQ regulations. Key steps in the process are outlined below.
1. Scoping « We Are Here
Begins with publication of the NOI in the Federal Register. Scoping is an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in an EIS and identifying the significant issues related to the Proposed Project.
2. Identify Purpose and Need
Defines the problem being addressed and describes the desired outcomes of the Proposed Project.
3. Develop Alternatives
Identifies the range of reasonable and feasible alternatives that will be rigorously explored and objectively evaluated in the EIS. Alternatives eliminated from detailed study, and the reasons for their elimination, will also be discussed.
4. Study Affected Environment
Documents existing conditions within the project study area.
5. Analyze Environmental Impact
Evaluates the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the Proposed Project and alternatives.
6. Identify Mitigation
Identifies measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any potential significant impacts.
7. Publish Draft EIS
Identifies and describes the Proposed Project; Purpose and Need; Alternatives; Affected Environment; Environmental Impact Analysis; and Mitigation Measures. The Draft EIS also identifies any special purpose environmental laws that apply to the project and demonstrates how the FAA will comply with those laws.
8. Public Review Period
The public review period begins with publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The public review period, which will be at least 45 days, allows interested parties and members of the public to review and comment on the scope and content of the Draft EIS.
9. Hold Public Hearings
Provides opportunity for the public to learn about and discuss the proposed project with technical experts and provide oral or written comments on the Draft EIS.
10. Publish Final EIS
Responds to public and agency comments on the Draft EIS, identifies the preferred alternative, and presents the final evaluation of potential impacts and mitigation measures.
11. FAA Issues the Record of Decision (ROD)
Identifies the alternative the FAA has selected for implementation by the Project Sponsor, provides the rationale for the selected alternative, and documents required mitigation measures. Issuance of the ROD is the final step in the NEPA process.
As outlined in FAA Order 1050.1F, the EIS will consider impacts to the following resources:
The EIS process typically takes between two and three years, including periods of study, technical review, and stakeholder (including public) input. The first phase in the process is public and agency scoping, which is expected to take approximately four months. The EIS preparation schedule is provided here, and will be updated periodically.
March 2018 - Publish a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS
April 2018 - Hold Agency and Public Scoping Meetings
Late 2019 - Publish the Draft EIS, Hold Public Review Period and Public Meetings
Mid 2020 - Publish the Final EIS, FAA Issues Record of Decision
2021 - Start of Construction
2028 - Project Completion
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
The FAA is the lead federal agency for the NEPA process and the EIS is being prepared under the direction of the FAA. Approval of the Proposed Project is a major federal action subject to NEPA. As stated in FAA Order 1050.1F Paragraph 1-8, the FAA is responsible for complying with the procedures and policies of NEPA and other environmental laws, regulations, and orders applicable to FAA actions. The FAA decision-making process must consider and disclose the potential impacts of a proposed action and its alternatives on the quality of the human environment. The FAA will make the ultimate decision regarding the final alternative selected for action. The FAA Airport District Office (ADO), located in Memphis, Tennessee is the office directly responsible for managing this EIS. The Division of Airports at FAA Headquarters is also actively involved in the direction and review of the Proposed Project.
City of Charlotte
The City of Charlotte is the owner and operator of the airport and is the Project Sponsor. The City of Charlotte, not the FAA, is responsible for proposing airport development projects, such as the proposed project that will be examined in this EIS. The City of Charlotte manages the operation, maintenance, development, and marketing of CLT to serve the air transportation needs of Charlotte, North Carolina as well as serving as a major connecting hub in the national aviation system. The staff of the City of Charlotte will work closely with the FAA and the project team throughout the EIS process. Pursuant to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended, as the Project Sponsor, the City of Charlotte must seek FAA approval to construct the Proposed Project at the Airport.
The FAA, as the lead federal agency, will solicit the participation of key federal and state entities to serve as cooperating agencies in this EIS process. Cooperating agencies will be invited to participate in the EIS process by the lead federal agency because of their special expertise or jurisdiction by law in a particular area(s) of the study. Guidance from any cooperating agencies is paramount to the successful completion of a comprehensive EIS.
The NEPA process officially began with publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register on March 22, 2018.