Environmental Review Toolkit

One Federal Decision

Pre-NOI Activities for One Federal Decision Projects


The purpose of this message is to provide a reminder of activities that should be completed prior to initiation of a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed projects considered ‘major infrastructure projects’ and subject to the One Federal Decision process per the Executive Order (E.O.) 13807 Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects, issued on August 15, 2017.  These activities are essential and consistent with the Working Agreement.

In alignment with the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (OFD MOU) and FHWA’s Working Agreement with the federal resource agencies, we are providing a list of activities that should be done prior to publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI)  in the Federal Register, or pre-NOI.   Projects that have used the planning and environment linkage approach, e.g. Tier I documents and/or other relevant planning studies, will have advantages over the projects that do not have information to incorporate into the NEPA process.

During pre-NOI stage, the lead Federal agency, in consultation with the cooperating and participating agencies and project sponsor, should:

  • Identify Cooperating and Participating Agencies for the project
  • Develop a draft Purpose and Need
  • Develop a draft Coordination Plan that includes a permitting timetable
  • Identify community and stakeholders affected and develop a Public Involvement Plan
  • Identify preliminary Range of Alternatives
  • Determine the extent of analysis needed for each resource
  • Initiate applicable resource surveys/studies
  • Identify potentially significant environmental issues
  • Identify potential mitigation strategies
  • Initiate permit activities as soon as possible, such as pre-application processes

As established in the OFD MOU, the lead federal agency should obtain written concurrence from cooperating agencies during the pre-NOI stage on: 1) Purpose and Need and 2) the range of alternative.  A third concurrence point related to the preferred alternative occurs later in the process. 

Please contact the Office of Project Development and Environmental Review prior to project initiation.  This will ensure all the necessary steps are in place before the NOI and that project meet the goals of the Executive Order.  For additional information, please contact Emily Biondi (emily.biondi@dot.gov or 202-366-9482) or Damaris Santiago (damaris.santiago@dot.gov or 202-366-2034).