NB_190_10_8, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Cooperating Agency
NB_190_10_8, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Cooperating Agency Status Report
December 10, 2009
ECS - National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA) Cooperating Agency Status
Purpose.To obtain progress
information related to the invitation of Federal agencies to be
cooperating agencies on Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) NEPA Environmental Assessments (EA) or Environmental Impact
Background.General Manual, Title 190,
Part 410, Compliance with NEPA, states NRCS policy for implementing
NEPA provisions. Section 410.9, NEPA and Interagency Planning,
describes NRCS’ responsibility for requesting assistance of
cooperating agencies in preparing NEPA documents. This policy
is based on the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
regulations implementing NEPA.
NRCS and CEQ
regulations implementing NEPA require NRCS to:
cooperating agencies as Federal, Tribal, State, or local government
agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect
to any environmental impact involved in a proposal for Federal
action or reasonable alternative to the proposed action; and
(2) Require lead
agencies to request the participation of cooperating agencies at the
earliest possible time in the NEPA process when an EIS is to be
prepared, and encourage cooperating agencies to take an active part
when an EA is to be prepared in lieu of an EIS. (See
definition of “lead agency” at 40 C.F.R.1501.5, http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/ceq/1501.htm#1501.5.)
CEQ requires annual
reports regarding cooperating agency involvement in all EAs and
EIS’. (See the December 2004 memorandum, “Report on
Cooperating Agencies in Implementing the Procedural Requirements of
the National Environmental Policy Act” at http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/connaughton.pdf.) The report now
due will cover the period from October 1, 2008,
through September 30, 2009.
Conservationists and Directors, Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas,
are to submit reports for the period beginning October 1, 2008, and
ending September 30, 2009. For each EA and EIS for which NRCS
was the lead agency, report the following information using the
format shown at http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/regs/guidance.html under “CEQ Memorandum
to Heads of Federal Agencies: Reporting Cooperating Agencies
in Implementing the Procedural Requirements of the National
Environmental Policy Act” (see Attachment).
(1) For EIS’ with
a Notice of Intent published between October 1, 2008, and September
30, 2009, report:
(i) The title of the EIS.
The names of the cooperating agencies for the EIS.
The names of agencies which declined an invitation to
participate as a cooperating agency, or who requested but failed to
reach agreement on establishing cooperating agency
(iv) Agencies whose cooperating agency status was ended and
(2) For EAs, the
lead agency will report:
The number of EAs completed between October 1, 2008, and
September 30, 2009.
(ii) The number of those EAs which included participation of
one or more cooperating agencies.
The reasons agencies did not accept invitations, or reach
agreement to participate as cooperating agencies, or ended the
cooperating agency status prior to completing the EA.
Negative reports are
required. The Data Quality Act applies to the information we
report, so it is important to be accurate.
Submit copies of all
reports, including negative reports, to the Ecological Sciences
Division (ESD) no later than Friday, January 8, 2010. Reports
are to be sent by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile to (202)
720-1814; or by regular mail to James Campbell, NRCS, ESD, Room
6158-South, Post Office Box 2890, Washington, D.C. 20013.