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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

NEPA is a U.S. law that requires federal agencies to identify and analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposed action before deciding whether to proceed with that action. The law encourages and facilitates public involvement to inform decision makers on actions that may affect the community or the environment.

NEPA Process

  = Opportunities for Public Review and Comment Star = Current Phase
  Notice of Intent to Prepare a Supplemental EIS/OEIS Aug. 22, 2017
  Scoping Period Aug. 22, 2017 - Oct. 6, 2017
  Public Release of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS March 29, 2019
  Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS
Public Review and Comment Period
March 29, 2019 - June 12, 2019
  Public Release of the Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS Sept. 18, 2020
Star Record of Decision Sept. 23, 2021

Importance of Public Involvement

Public and agency input allows decision makers to consider community concerns and benefit from local knowledge. The public participates in the NEPA process during the following stages:

  • Scoping Period: Helping to identify the scope of the analysis, including potential environmental issues and viable alternatives.
  • Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS Public Review and Comment Period: Evaluating and providing substantive comments on the draft analysis.
  • Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS Wait Period: Reviewing the Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS and Navy responses to substantive comments received on the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS.

Substantive Public Review Comments

Public participation is an important part of the National Environmental Policy Act process. Submitting substantive and concise public comments is one of the most important aspects of that process.

"Substantive" comments, in the sense of an environmental analysis document, are comments on the analysis that contain practical importance, value, or effect. Submitting a substantive and concise public comment on the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS is one of the most important aspects of the National Environmental Policy Act process.

The most effective comments are those that provide useful information to the Navy. For instance, submit comments if you find:

  • An error in analysis that may affect the outcome.
  • New information that would change the analysis and conclusions.
  • Any peer-reviewed scientific literature that should be considered in the analysis.
  • Something that should be clarified.
  • A substantially different alternative that meets the purpose and need statement and has not been considered.

General recommendations to keep in mind when making comments on any NEPA document:

  • Support statements with details. If, for example, you are concerned about biological resources, it is helpful to focus on a particular problem or issue, such as a species that you feel was not sufficiently analyzed, instead of making a broad statement such as “The Navy did not adequately analyze impacts on biological resources.”
  • Back up your statements with explanations, facts, and references, as appropriate.
  • Be as specific as possible with your comments and refer to page numbers and paragraphs in the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
  • Focus comments on the specifics of the proposed project under consideration.
  • Submit your comments within the timeframes announced to ensure that your concerns are considered and addressed in the Final Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
  • Request to be included on the Supplemental EIS/OEIS mailing list to receive notification of public meetings and project information.
  • Recognize that the potential impacts on resources are likely to be described in more than one section because there are interrelationships between the resources and programs.
  • Become familiar with the contents of the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS, including the purpose and need statement and the responsibilities of the lead agency (Navy).
  • Review the project website to become familiar with the proposal, learn about the NEPA process, understand the responsibilities and authorities of the federal agency, keep up to date on public meetings and comment periods, get answers to frequently asked questions, and view agency notifications.
  • Comments on the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS are not counted as votes or as part of a referendum on Navy decisions. They are used to improve the document and analyses, and to ensure impacts are adequately determined before the Navy makes a final decision on the proposed project. Therefore, avoid comments that state “I am in favor of this project,” or “I am opposed to this project.” Remember that the more clear, concise, and relevant to the Draft Supplemental EIS/OEIS your comments are, the more effective they will be and more likely they will be used to improve the final documents and affect the agency decisions.

Cooperating Agency

Upon request of the lead agency, any other federal agency that has jurisdiction by law shall be a cooperating agency. In addition, any other federal agency that has special expertise with respect to any environmental issue that should be addressed in the Supplemental EIS/OEIS may be a cooperating agency upon request of the lead agency. The National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Coast Guard are cooperating agencies for this Supplemental EIS/OEIS.

NOAA Fisheries
United States Coast Guard


The Navy is committed to an open and transparent public process.