NEPA Assumption - Ohio Department of Transportation

Report
NEPA ASSUMPTION
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT DELIVERY PROGRAM
WHAT IS NEPA ASSUMPTION?
• Formal Assignment of NEPA responsibilities from FHWA
• All CEs, EAs and EISs
• All environmental laws, rules and orders
• Under this program, ODOT would act on behalf and as FHWA on all
projects for environmental matters.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF NEPA ASSUMPTION?
• Streamline the Environmental Process while still meeting
environmental protection standards.
• Deliver program an overall 2,140 days quicker= 20% time savings
• Save costs to the Department
• Assumption program will save ODOT $45 million each year
SCOPE OF THE NEPA ASSUMPTION PROGRAM
• FHWA retains discretion on what to assign. They may withhold
assignment of specific projects or responsibilities.
• FHWA will keep the following:
• Engineering decisions
• Air quality conformity and Tribal consultation
• USDOT responsibilities for statewide and metropolitan planning
• Multi-modal projects, projects that cross state lines, etc.
THE NEPA ASSUMPTION PROGRAM
• ODOT would be legally responsible to ensure compliance
• Can be sued in Federal court
• All laws are still in existence.
• ODOT would act on behalf of FHWA
• Savings come from reduced reviews not shortcutting the
environmental process or legal requirements.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
• More efficient environmental review process
• Time and cost savings by eliminating a layer of review
• More efficient project delivery program
• Provides for more efficient consultation between ODOT and
our agencies
• Provides an increased focus on local decision-making
• Continue ODOT’s leadership of our program
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT FHWA?
• Moving from project to program responsibilities, FHWA will
provide the following:
• Training
• Technical assistance and policy interpretation
• No project assistance
• Program audits
• Twice yearly for first 2 years, once a year after
• Process and Program reviews
• Reports back to congress
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT ODOT?
• ODOT must maintain detailed files, records and make them
available to FHWA
• ODOT must carry out regular self-assessments and continuous
QA/QC on all actions
• ODOT must maintain the professional and experienced staff to
carry out the necessary scope
• ODOT must report out to FHWA on all actions
HOW DOES ODOT HAVE TO CHANGE?
• “If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen!”
• ODOT has to effectively document it’s actions.
• Ensure actions are tracked and accounted for.
• QA/QC is a must!
• One document goes thru 2x reviews due to corrections
• Cost US $10,000 and 30-60 days. Multiply that by 600 documents yearly!
• Follow the PDP and it’s supporting guidance
• Ensure commitments are carried out in the field
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
• ODOT will be legally responsible for all NEPA decisions
• ODOT will defend in federal court (we already do it today)
• Required for both on and off the State Highway System- pass thru
federal monies are the same as ODOT spending them
• No more FHWA backstop “The feds are making us do it….”
• ODOT has to make the right decisions, based on the required process
and laws and stand by it.
• Failure- FHWA can take the program away.
WHAT’S NEXT?
• Path to entering NEPA Assumption
• Limited waiver of sovereign immunity
• Identify desired scope of assumption
• Prepare Application, make available to public
• Develop MOU
• Develop auditing tools
• Train and implement
THE APPLICATION FOR NEPA ASSUMPTION
• Early Draft has been developed
• The Application identifies:
• Scope of Assignment
• Current & Proposed Organization
• Current & Proposed Procedures, Tools
• Roles and Responsibilities
• Training
• Resources
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR NEPA ASSUMPTION?
• Meet with agencies and associations- 12/2014
• Gain support
• Identify improvement areas/concerns
• Limited waiver of sovereign immunity- 3/2015
• Public Notice of Draft Application- 4/2015
• MOU to FHWA- 6/2015
• MOU Public Notice- 9/2015
• Effective Date of program- 12/2015
WHY WE WILL SUCCEED…
• Experienced environmental team
• Excellent training, manuals, processes already in place
• Renewed focus on QA/QC
• Commitment to make it succeed- savings of $45 million
• Commitment to continue to improve and adapt
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
• Need to understand and address any concerns you may have.
• Support ODOT’s budget bill language for the limited waiver of
sovereign immunity.
• Prepare letters of support during the Application comment
period.
• Help us continue to improve and ensure positive
performance of this program!
NEPA ASSUMPTION
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT DELIVERY PROGRAM
Contacts: Tim Hill, Administrator
Office of Environmental Services
[email protected]
614-644-0377
Erica L. Schneider, Assistant Administrator
Office of Environmental Services
[email protected]
614-387-0134

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