Airport planning and development projects that include Federal involvement require an environmental review. The FAA is obligated by statutory and regulatory requirements to evaluate the environmental impacts of all proposed developments shown on an approved airport layout plan. Applicable regulations include the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Air Act, Airport and Airway Improvement Act.
The FAA must carefully analyze and evaluate the impact that a proposed development presents to the environment. This involves a systematic and multidisciplinary approach for the purpose of assuring compliance with NEPA. FAA Order 5050.4, "National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Instructions for Airport Projects" establishes the FAA official policy on meeting NEPA requirements. The FAA can not proceed with programming and funding any AIP project until the environmental review is complete.
As the proponent of the improvement, the airport owner is responsible for identifying all environmental issues. The airport owner must also develop and consider alternatives to the proposed development. The owner does this by preparing an environmental assessment (EA). The type and size of project may affect the extent of the environmental review. Specific projects can be categorically excluded from an extensive environmental review. Airport owners should consult with the FAA early in the planning process to determine if a categorical exclusion determination is appropriate.
The FAA is responsible for independently analyzing and evaluating the environmental consequences identified in the sponsor's environmental assessment. After verifying the adequacy and sufficiency of the environmental assessment, the FAA will issue either a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The FAA documents the formal determination by issuing a Record of Decision (ROD). FAA may proceed with programming and funding a project if a favorable determination is reached.
The basic steps to complete a NEPA review are as follows:
Page Last Modified: 09/11/12 16:37 EDT
This page can be viewed online at: http://www.faa.gov/airports/central/environmental/overview/