The Army Corps Role
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed an interagency agreement with BEP in March 2019 to coordinate this replacement effort to include environmental assessments and design and construction oversight for the Main facility (to include non-production equipment, furnishings and IT systems) and supporting structures, parking and stormwater management facilities, roadway access and improvements, utility connections, security systems and access control.
National Environmental Policy Act
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and the Department of the Treasury NEPA regulations require BEP to consider the potential environmental impacts of its proposed actions and alternatives and to solicit the views of the public in order to make an informed final decision regarding how to proceed.
Through the NEPA process, the Army Corps is thoroughly analyzing BEP's proposal to determine potential land use, ecological, cultural, water resources, social, public health and safety, air quality, aesthetics, noise, lighting, traffic and other impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed replacement facility. Cumulative environmental effects will also be analyzed.
The Army Corps is documenting these analyses in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as well as other reasonable site alternatives to accomplish the purpose and need for this action. Mitigation measures are presented in the EIS to offset potential adverse impacts to natural and cultural resources on the land, as well as potential impacts to the public, such as increased traffic in the area.
The Army Corps performed necessary field investigations to collect baseline information on the natural, cultural and human environments within the proposal area, including collecting soil samples, delineating wetlands, performing archaeological and wastewater surveys, a transportation study, and more.
NEPA Timeline and Public Review
The NEPA public scoping took place from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, 2019, and is summarized in the Public Scoping Report. Public input from the scoping period was considered and addressed during preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The Draft EIS was released for public review Nov. 6, 2020, with a 45-day comment period continuing through Dec. 21, 2020. The Final EIS is anticipated for completion and public review in spring 2021, although these dates are subject to change based on a variety of factors. BEP and the Army Corps held a virtual public meeting Dec. 2, 2020. Substantive comments provided by the public on the Draft EIS will be addressed in the Final EIS. The final Record of Decision is anticipated to be published in summer 2021.