Starting October 1, 2012, all Federal agencies must file their draft and final EISs electronically, pursuant to amended EIS Filing System Guidelines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (77 FR 51530; August 24, 2012). As of October 1, EPA will no longer accept paper copies or CDs of EISs for filing purposes. Electronic filing will eliminate the need to prepare an EIS filing letter and to deliver copies of the EIS to EPA and will enable EPA to host EISs on its website.
The amended guidelines remind agencies of their responsibilities to transmit an EIS to commenting agencies and make it available to the public before filing it with EPA (40 CFR 1506.9). This will ensure that the EIS is received by all interested parties by the time EPA’s notice of availability appears in the Federal Register and, therefore, that the document is available for the full comment and review period, EPA explains.
The Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance will continue to file DOE EISs with EPA per Section 5.g(7) of DOE Order 451.1B, NEPA Compliance Program. DOE NEPA Document Managers should work with their points of contact in the NEPA Office and provide electronic files and related information no later than Wednesday of the week when an EIS is to be filed with EPA. This will allow time to ensure the file formatting and information are correct. The NEPA Document Manager should promptly notify the NEPA Office when distribution is complete, so that the EIS may then be filed with EPA.
The EIS files (including appendices) must meet EPA requirements for electronic submission. For an abbreviated final EIS (as described in 40 CFR 1503.4(c)), an agency should include the draft EIS when filing the final EIS. (Further information is available on EPA's website and in Lessons Learned Quarterly Report, September 2012, Page 6.)