The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and special purpose environmental laws and regulations, require environmental impact analyses of proposed airport actions that are subject to FAA decision. The environmental review process must be completed before a project commences.
Most airport environmental documents are prepared by airport sponsors. However, depending on the funding arrangement and level of impact, states that receive block grants for airport development or the FAA may prepare some documentation.
This page describes the main regulations, procedures, resources, data, and tools for the airport environmental review process.
FAA Orders and Guidance
- FAA Order 1050.1, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures
FAA's agency-wide NEPA procedures.
- 1050.1 Desk Reference
Explanatory information on FAA Order 1050.1.
- FAA Order 5050.4, NEPA Implementing Instructions for Airport Actions
FAA's NEPA procedures for airport actions.
Note: Portions of these procedures have been superseded by recent NEPA Executive Orders, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) guidance, and the last update to FAA Order 1050.1. This information will be incorporated into a future version of 5050.4.
- FAA Environmental Desk Reference for Airport Actions
The companion guide to FAA Order 5050.4, it provides technical information on completing impact analyses by environmental resource category.
- FAA Office of Airports Standard Operating Procedure 5.1, Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) Determinations
Prepared for Office of Airports personnel, it describes FAA's internal procedures for processing Categorical Exclusions, the least complex level of NEPA documentation for airport actions.
- The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
A landmark environmental statute, this law requires analysis of potential impacts to the environment and when there are, considering alternatives and mitigation before approving federal actions. It was enacted in response to federal decision-making that did not adequately consider environmental impacts.
- CEQ Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA
The U.S. regulations for implementing NEPA. FAA's NEPA Orders are largely based on the NEPA statute and CEQ regulations.
CEQ's official website, it includes NEPA updates, and CEQ guidance and tools.
- Executive Order 13807 Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects, August 2017
This EO includes new requirements for NEPA efficiency and tracking. These include a two-year average timeframe to complete certain infrastructure projects and tracking those projects on the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard.
- One Federal Decision Framework for the Environmental Review and Authorization Process for Major infrastructure Projects Under Executive Order 13807, March 2018 (PDF)
This memorandum establishes the framework for "One Federal Decision" projects. OFD is a designation established in EO 13807 for certain major projects. It establishes shared concurrence points and ensures proponents receive a single federal decision from the lead federal agency.
- U.S. Department of Transportation Interim Policy on Page Limits for NEPA Documents and Focused Analyses, August 2019
This policy is intended to help DOT modes prepare succinct NEPA documents. It establishes page limits and a process for when a document exceeds those limits.
- FAA Office of Airports Best Practices for Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Management
- Additional FAA Resources on Environmental Policy and Guidance (by Resource Category)
Data and Tools
- Airport Environmental Records of Decision (RODs)
A repository of decision documents for proposed airport development that required an Environmental Impact Statement, the most complex level of NEPA documentation.
- Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard