FRA & NEPA
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 requires Federal agencies to account for the environmental impacts of Federal-government actions. NEPA establishes a national environmental policy and provides a framework for environmental planning and decision-making by Federal agencies. NEPA directs Federal agencies, when planning projects or issuing permits, to conduct environmental reviews to consider the potential impacts on the environment by their proposed actions. NEPA requires, to the fullest extent possible, that the policies, regulations, and laws of the Federal government be interpreted and administered in accordance with NEPA’s environmental protection goals. Federal implementation of NEPA is the charge of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which interpreted the law and addressed NEPA’s action forcing provisions in the form of regulations and guidance.
Per the requirements of NEPA, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is committed to the examination and avoidance of potential impacts to the social and natural environment when considering approval of proposed transportation projects. FRA begins the process of considering the environmental impacts of a proposed project in consultation with appropriate Federal, State, and local authorities as well as with the public at the earliest practical time in the project planning process.
As of November 28, 2018, FRA conducts environmental reviews according to its revised NEPA legislation and regulations contained in 23 CFR Part 771 Environmental Impact and Related Procedures, and 23 CFR Part 774, Parks, Recreation Areas, Wildlife and Waterfowl Refuges, and Historic Sites(Section 4(f)) for transportation projects.
For environmental reviews started prior to November 28, 2018, FRA will complete those reviews in accordance with FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register [FR] 28545, May 26, 1999).
FRA Environmental Reviews
Every attempt has been made to provide correct links and files in accessible formats. If you have difficulty accessing an environmental document referenced on FRA’s website or have a question regarding FRA’s NEPA requirements, please contact FRAenvironment@dot.gov.
Permitting Dashboard for Federal Infrastructure Projects
The Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project developers, and the public to track the Federal government’s permitting and review process for large and complex infrastructure projects. The primary objectives of the Dashboard are to increase transparency and to shorten review timelines while improving environmental and community outcomes. The Dashboard achieves these objectives by encouraging early coordination and synchronization of agency review schedules, and making public information easily accessible. FRA enters project schedules and milestones into the Dashboard for Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Environmental Assessments (EA) started after October 2015 and the enactment of the FAST Act, or by request.