The purpose of the NEPA is to include environmental considerations into federal agency planning and action. This is done by providing decision-makers and other stakeholders with information they need to understand any potentially significant environmental impacts resulting from an action. Through its NEPA process, Fort Cavazos actively incorporates environmental considerations into informed decision making. All NEPA analyses are prepared using an interdisciplinary team approach; balancing environmental concerns with mission requirements, technical requirements, economic feasibility, and long-term sustainability of Army operations on the Installation. The NEPA process allows Fort Cavazos decision makers to be cognizant of the impacts their decisions have on cultural resources, forests, wetlands and streams, fish and wildlife, and other natural resources under their care.
Environmental Analysis of Army Actions
Army Regulation 200-1 implements Federal, State, and local environmental laws and DOD policies for preserving, protecting, conserving, and restoring the quality of the environment. This regulation should be used in conjunction with 32 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 651 (32 CFR 651), which provides Army policy on NEPA requirements. 32 CFR 651 supplements the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued regulations, 40 CFR 1500-1508, and sets forth the Army's policies and responsibilities for the early integration of environmental considerations into planning and decision-making, and requires the Army to conduct environmental analysis of actions affecting human health and the environment.
Types of NEPA Documents
Categorical Exclusion/Record of Environmental Consideration
A federal action may be "categorically excluded" from a detailed environmental analysis when the federal action normally does not have a significant effect on the human environment (40 CFR 1508.1(d)). In 32 CFR 651, Appendix B, the Army identified actions that qualify for a categorical exclusion (CX) and whether a Record of Environmental Consideration (REC) is required to document the environmental review and the use of a particular CX. The majority of actions at Fort Cavazos qualify for a CX.
Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact
If an action does not qualify for a CX then Fort Cavazos may prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA determines whether or not an action has the potential to cause significant environmental effects. If the EA determines that the action will not have significant environmental impacts, Fort Cavazos will issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI). A FNSI is a document that presents the reasons why Fort Cavazos has concluded that there are no significant environmental impacts projected to occur upon implementation of the action. If the EA determines that the environmental impacts of a proposed action will be significant, a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement is issued.
Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision
If a proposed action is determined to significantly affect the quality of the human environment Fort Cavazos would prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The regulatory requirements for an EIS are more detailed and rigorous than the requirements for an EA. There are extensive scoping and public review requirements. The EIS process concludes with the issuance of a Record of Decision. Very few actions at Fort Cavazos have required the preparation of an EIS.