SAFETEA-LU PROVISIONS FOR NEGOTIATED TIMEFRAMES
Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU provides provisions affecting the timely delivery of the environmental review process and the completion of environmental impact statements. The following provisions will be addressed in the Wizard update, Version 1.1. All projects initiated after August 10, 2005 are required to comply with these provisions and others listed in SAFETEA-LU.
- Inviting and Designating Participating Agencies [SEC 6002, ‘‘Sec. 139, (d)]
The Federal lead agency shall be responsible for inviting and designating participating agencies. The lead agency shall identify, as early as practicable in the environmental review process for a project, any other Federal and non-Federal agencies that may have an interest in the project, and shall invite such agencies to become participating agencies in the environmental review process for the project. The invitation shall set a deadline for responses to be submitted. Any Federal agency that is invited by the lead agency to participate in the environmental review process for a project shall be designated as a participating agency by the lead agency unless the invited agency informs the lead agency, in writing, by the deadline specified in the invitation.
- Purpose and Need Participation [SEC 6002, ‘‘Sec. 139, (f)]
As early as practicable during the environmental review process, the lead agency shall provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public in defining the purpose and need for a project. Following participation, the lead agency shall define the project's purpose and need for purposes of any document which the lead agency is responsible for preparing for the project.
- Alternative Analysis Participation [SEC 6002, ‘‘Sec. 139, (f) (4)]
As early as practicable during the environmental review process, the lead agency shall provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public in determining the range of alternatives to be considered for a project. Following participation, the lead agency shall determine the range of alternatives for consideration in any document which the lead agency is responsible for preparing for the project. The lead agency also shall determine, in collaboration with participating agencies at appropriate times during the study process, the methodologies to be used and the level of detail required in the analysis of each alternative for a project.
- Coordination and Scheduling [SEC 6002, ‘‘Sec. 139, (g)]
The lead agency shall establish a plan for coordinating public and agency participation in and comment on the environmental review process for a project or category of projects. The coordination plan may be incorporated into a memorandum of understanding. The lead agency may establish as part of the coordination plan, after consultation with each participating agency for the project and with the State in which the project is located (and, if the State is not the project sponsor, with the project sponsor), a schedule for completion of the environmental review process for the project. A copy of a schedule, and of any modifications to the schedule, shall be (i) provided to all participating agencies and to the State transportation department of the State in which the project is located (and, if the State is not the project sponsor, to the project sponsor); and (ii) made available to the public.
- Comment Deadlines [SEC 6002, ‘‘Sec. 139, (g) (2)]
For comments by agencies and the public on a draft environmental impact statement, a period of not more than 60 days after publication in the Federal Register of notice of the date of public availability of such document, unless (i) a different deadline is established by agreement of the lead agency, the project sponsor, and all participating agencies; or (ii) the deadline is extended by the lead agency for good cause.
For all other comment periods established by the lead agency for agency or public comments in the environmental review process, a period of no more than 30 days from
availability of the materials on which comment is requested, unless (i) a different deadline is established by agreement of the lead agency, the project sponsor, and all participating agencies; or (ii) the deadline is extended by the lead agency for good cause.
- Limitations on Claims- [SEC 6002, ‘‘Sec. 139, (l)]
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, claim arising under Federal law seeking judicial review of a permit, license, or approval issued by a Federal agency for a highway or public transportation capital project shall be barred unless it is filed within 180 days after publication of a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the permit, license, or is final pursuant to the law under which the agency action is taken, unless a shorter time is specified in the Federal law pursuant to which judicial review is allowed. Nothing in this shall create a right to judicial review or place any limit on filing a claim that a person has violated the terms of a permit, license, or approval.
Secretary shall consider new information received after the close of a comment period if the information satisfies the requirements for a supplemental impact statement under section 771.130 of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations. The preparation of a supplemental impact statement when required shall be considered a separate final agency action and the deadline for filing a claim for judicial review of such action shall be 180 days after the date of publication of a notice in the Federal Register announcing such action.
For questions or feedback on this subject, please contact Gerry Flood at 617-494-3848.