NEPA Process (This site last updated April 30, 2014)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a revised Notice of Intent in the Federal Register on October 8, 2008. It identified the Delaware Department of Transportation's (DelDOT) intention to evaluate the US 113 project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and to provide the results of that evaluation in four separate environmental documents. The intended documentation for the four geographical areas follows:
- Milford Area- Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- Ellendale Area- Environmental Assessment (EA)
- Georgetown Area- Environmental Assessment (EA)
- Millsboro-South Area- Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
DelDOT and FHWA met with representatives of the various resource and regulatory agencies to begin consideration of the effects of the project on the natural and built environment. Three agencies requested to be cooperating agencies: the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Consideration of the effects on the environment has been accomplished according to guidelines issued by the Council on Environmental Quality and according to the Mid-Atlantic Transportation and Environmental Streamlining (MATE) Process. MATE is a cooperative, coordinated process that brings all of the resource and regulatory agencies together concurrently, ensuring comprehensive consideration of all resources.
Step 1 - Purpose and Need
Prepared by DelDOT and FHWA, the cooperating agencies concurred with the purpose and need for the project in July and August, 2005.
Step 2 - Environmental Inventory and Range of Alternatives
The Environmental Inventory was completed in January 2004. The initial range of alternatives was developed between September 2004 and April 2005 and included Eastern and Western Bypasses, as well as On-alignment Alternatives. The Alternatives were presented to the Georgetown Area Working Group at their September 2004 meeting.
Step 3 - Preliminary Effects and Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study
From July 2003 through June 2006, NEPA related environmental issues were identified, initial impacts assessed, and agency meetings held, Working Group meetings and Public Workshops were held. At the fifth Public Workshop, on June 5, 2006, the Project Team presented their recommendations on which alternatives should be retained for detailed evaluation. Based on public, agency, and Project Team input, it was determined that all of the alternatives presented would meet the Purpose and Need of the project and would avoid or minimize direct impacts to natural and socioeconomic resources. Therefore, they were all retained for detailed evaluation. The agencies concurred with the Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study.
Step 4 - Detailed Evaluation of the Retained Alternatives
Between June 2006 and June 2007, detailed evaluations of the Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study were conducted. A Public Workshop was conducted and meetings were held with the Georgetown Area Working Group and the resource agencies to review this information and to select a recommended preferred alternative. On June 15, 2007, DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks presented the Refined On-alignment Alternative as the Recommended Preferred Alternative in the Georgetown Area.
Step 5 - Publication of the Draft Environmental Document
The draft NEPA document, an Environmental Assessment (EA), was published on March 27, 2012. The EA details all of the known environmental resources that may be affected by the retained alternatives as well as preliminary engineering efforts to avoid, minimize, or mitigate those impacts. The document included a Recommended Preferred Alternative, the Refined On-alignment Alternative.
Step 6 - Finding of No Significant Impact
Following the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Assessment, DelDOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, will review the comments received, address those comments, and finalize the Environmental Assessment. It will then be forwarded to FHWA for review and the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact. Receipt of FHWA's finding will conclude the environmental process.