Environmental assessment (EA)

In the context of the National Environmental Policy Act, an environmental assessment is a public document that briefly discusses a proposed action and alternatives to it, including the need for the action and the direct, indirect, and cumulative ecologic, cultural, historical, social, or health impacts of the proposed action and the alternatives. It may be the basis for determining whether the proponent agency has a responsibility for preparing a more comprehensive environmental impact statement or whether it can execute a finding of “no significant impact.” It also aids in an agency’s compliance with the statute when an environmental impact statement is not necessary. 9

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40 C.F.R. §1508.9.