U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
The EPA's Comments Improve
the Environmental Impact
Statement Process But
Verification of Agreed-Upon
Actions Is Needed
Report No. 13-P-0352
August 22, 2013

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Report Contributors:	Laurie Adams
Daniel Carroll
Jerri Dorsey
Gabrielle Fekete
Steven Weber
Abbreviations
EIS	Environmental Impact Statement
EPA	U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
GPRA	Government Performance and Results Act
NEPA	National Environmental Policy Act
OECA	Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Hotline
To report fraud, waste, or abuse, contact us through one of the following methods:
email:	OIG Hotline@epa.gov	write: EPA Inspector General Hotline
phone:	1-888-546-8740	1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
fax:	202-566-2599	Mailcode 2431T
online:	http://www.epa.gov/oiq/hotline.htm	Washington, DC 20460

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*	- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	13-P-0352

i	\ Office of Inspector General	August 22,2013
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At a Glance
Why We Did This Review
The purpose of this review was
to determine the impact the
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency has on final federal
agency Environmental Impact
Statements under the National
Environmental Policy Act. As
required by NEPA and Section
309 of the Clean Air Act, the
EPA reviews EISs that evaluate
the anticipated environmental
impacts of proposed major
federal actions. The EPA
reviews hundreds of EISs
annually, involving a wide
range of federal projects.
Projects covered by EISs
include renewable energy,
major highway, and oil and gas
development projects.
This report addresses the
following EPA Goals or
Cross-Cutting Strategies:
	Taking action on climate
change and improving air
quality.
	Protecting America's waters.
	Cleaning up communities and
advancing sustainable
development.
	Ensuring the safety of
chemicals and preventing
pollution.
	Expanding the conversation
on environmentalism.
	Working for environmental
justice and children's health.
For further information, contact
our Office of Congressional and
Public Affairs at (202) 566-2391.
The full report is at:
www.epa.aov/oia/reports/2013/
20130822-13-P-0352.pdf
The EPA's Comments Improve the
Environmental Impact Statement Process But
Verification of Agreed-Upon Actions Is Needed
What We Found
We found that federal agencies are making changes to their EISs to mitigate or
eliminate potential environmental risks based on the EPA's comments. In our
review of a sample of EISs and in discussions with federal agencies, we found
that the EPA's comments directly resulted in positive changes to final EISs. The
eight federal agencies we interviewed all stated that they changed their final EISs
based on the EPA's comment on their draft EISs.
The EPA's goal was to mitigate at least 70 percent of the environmental impacts
identified in its Section 309 reviews of EISs. The EPA tracks progress on its goal
by counting the number of substantive comments it makes on EISs and the
responses (mitigation) from the lead federal agency. For 2012, the EPA reported
it exceeded its goal and obtained a 75-percent result for substantive comments
addressed by the federal agency. This measure captures the prospective impact
of the EPA's proposed mitigation measures. It does not measure the federal
agency's actual mitigation actions or outcomes (i.e., impacts), nor is there a
system in place to do this. The EPA also provided us with "success stories"
evidencing changes made by the federal agencies in response to the EPA's
comments. However noteworthy, these "success stories" do not measure or track
actual mitigation actions implemented or outcomes.
The EPA has the authority to request and obtain information from lead federal
agencies about agreed-upon mitigation measures. In addition, the EPA's 1984
Policy and Procedures for the Review of Federal Actions Impacting the
Environment states that the EPA can conduct follow-up activities on EPA's
comments on final EISs in part to ensure that agreed-upon mitigation measures
are identified in the Record of Decision and are fully implemented. The EPA can
more accurately assess and more completely report its results in mitigating
environmental impacts of federal government projects by following up on
implementation of agreed-upon mitigation measures.
Recommendation and Planned Agency Corrective Action
We recommend that the EPA direct its NEPA compliance division to conduct,
on a selected basis, follow-up activities on final EISs including contacting lead
agencies and documenting the results of these reviews.
The agency concurred with our findings and recommendation. The agency
indicated that it will work to develop a plan by December 1, 2013, to conduct
these follow-up activities on a selected basis and as limited resources allow. The
recommendation is resolved and open with corrective actions ongoing. No further
EPA response to this report is required.

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< ,	5	UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
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THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
August 22, 2013
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: The EPA's Comments Improve the Environmental Impact Statement Process
But Verification of Agreed-Upon Actions Is Needed
Report No. 13-P-0352
FROM: Arthur A. Elkins Jr. /fiMstf ^ ' !/r^ \ J
TO:	Susan Bromm, Director
Office of Federal Activities
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
This is a report on the subject evaluation conducted by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. This report contains findings that describe the problems the OIG has
identified and corrective actions the OIG recommends. This report represents the opinion of the OIG and
does not necessarily represent the final EPA position. Final determinations on matters in this report will
be made by EPA managers in accordance with established audit resolution procedures.
Action Required
You are not required to provide a written response to this final report, because you agreed to the
report's recommendation and provided a corrective action and completion date that meets the
intent of the recommendation. The recommendation is resolved and open with corrective actions
ongoing.
Should you choose to provide a response to this final report, we will post your response on the OIG's
public website, along with our memorandum commenting on your response. You should provide your
response as an Adobe PDF file that complies with the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
We will post this report to our website at http://www.epa.gov/oig.
If you or your staff have any questions regarding this report, please contact Assistant Inspector General
for Program Evaluation Carolyn Copper at (202) 566-0829 or copper.carolyn@epa.gov; or Acting
Director for Toxics, Chemical Management, and Pollution Prevention Evaluations Jerri Dorsey at
(919) 541-3601 or dorsev.ierri@epa.gov.

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The EPA's Comments Improve the	13-P-0352
Environmental Impact Statement Process But
Verification of Agreed-Upon Actions Is Needed
	 Table of C	
Purpose		1
Background		1
Scope and Methodology		2
Results of Review		2
The EPA's Positive Impact on EISs		3
Improving Demonstration of Program Results		3
Conclusions		5
Recommendation		5
Agency Comments and OIG Evaluation		5
Status of Recommendation and Potential Monetary Benefits		6
Appendices
A Environmental Impact Statements Reviewed		7
B Examples of Lead Agency Response to the EPA's Comments		8
C Agency Response		10
D Distribution		12

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Purpose
The purpose of this review was to determine the impact the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has on final federal agency Environmental Impact Statements
prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act. As required by NEPA and
Section 309 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA's Office of Federal Activities reviews
EISs that evaluate the anticipated environmental impacts of proposed major
federal actions.
Background
Title I of NEPA contains a Declaration of National Environmental Policy which,
in part, requires the federal government to use all practicable means to create and
maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony.
Two major purposes of the NEPA process are better informed decisions and
citizen involvement, both of which should lead to implementation of NEPA's
policies. NEPA's procedural requirements apply to all federal agencies in the
executive branch.
Section 102 of NEPA requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental
considerations in their planning and decision-making through a systematic
interdisciplinary approach. Specifically, all federal agencies are to prepare detailed
statements including an assessment of the environmental impact of and alternatives
to major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. These statements
are commonly referred to as environmental impact statements. After the federal
agency prepares a draft EIS, a notice of availability is published in the Federal
Register. Federal agencies and other outside parties have at least 45 days to
comment on draft EISs. The agency then assesses comments received, revises the
EIS accordingly, and publishes a final EIS. After a final EIS is prepared and at the
time of its decision, the federal agency will prepare a public record of its decision
addressing how the findings of the EIS, including consideration of alternatives,
were incorporated into the agency's decision-making process.
The EPA's Section 309 NEPA Review Program
The EPA has a unique responsibility in the NEPA review process. Under
Section 309 of the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to review and publicly
comment on the environmental impacts of major federal actions, including actions
which are the subject of EISs. The EPA is mandated to review and provide
comment on draft EISs put forth by other federal agencies.
To achieve this mandate, the EPA has created an environmental review process
that uses two scales to evaluate draft EISs. One rates the environmental impact of
the proposed action, and the other rates the adequacy of information presented in
the draft EIS. The EPA uses these rating scales to comment on the draft EISs from
federal agencies. The EPA provides these ratings and comments in the form of a
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letter, provided within the required timeframe for review. The EPA's review is
intended to help federal agencies identify and ultimately avoid or mitigate
potential adverse impacts from their projects.
Scope and Methodology
We conducted our work from November 2012 through July 2013 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require
that we plan and perform our work to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to
provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our
objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for
our findings and conclusions based on our objectives.
Our review focused on assessing the impact of the EPA's review and comment on
federal agency EISs. The team held a series of meetings with the EPA's Office of
Federal Activities to gain an understanding of the NEPA process and the EPA's
role. We received database access for the agency's internal EIS tracking system,
and learned how to use the NEPAssist geographic information system tool. We
reviewed documents from both the EPA and the Council on Environmental
Quality, as well as academic literature on the NEPA process.
To assess the process in practice, we selected 10 of 218 final EISs received by the
EPA in 2012 (see appendix A). We then reviewed the draft and final comment
letters to document the ratings, the EPA's comments, and the lead agency's
response to these comments. We documented how potential environmental
impacts were avoided between draft and final and how/if those can be connected
back to EPA comment and involvement. As part of this review, we spoke to both
the EPA lead reviewer and the lead federal agency contact for each sampled EIS.
We interviewed staff in EPA Regions 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9. We also spoke with
representatives from the following federal agencies: U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, U.S. Marine Corps, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. National
Park Service, Bureau of Land Management (two sites), U.S. Forest Service, and
Bureau of Reclamation.
Results of Review
The EPA is having a positive impact on final EISs. Federal agencies are generally
responsive to the EPA's comments on the draft EIS and make changes to their
final EISs based on the EPA's comments and recommendations. The EPA staff
analyze final EISs and compute the percentage of impacts mitigated as a result of
the EPA reviews. However, the EPA currently only measures the prospective
impact of mitigation. The EPA has no formal or systematic process in place to
determine actual mitigation outcomes and therefore does not conduct follow-up
actions designed to examine these impacts. The EPA's Policy and Procedures
Manual identifies that EPA can conduct, on a selected basis, follow-up on the
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comments and mitigation measures proposed in final EISs. The agency cited
limited resources as the barrier to follow-up.
The EPA's Positive Impact on EISs
We found that lead federal agencies are making changes to their EISs based on
the EPA's comments on draft EISs. In our review of the EISs and in discussions
with lead federal agencies, we found that the EPA's comments directly resulted in
changes to the majority of the final EISs we reviewed. The method by which lead
agencies responded varied across project type and agency. For one of our sampled
items, there were two substantive changes from the draft to the final based on the
EPA's comment. These included the disclosure of $4.2 million in mitigation
funds that will be spent to reduce health impacts in low-income and minority
communities and a commitment to a reduced review timeframe for air quality
issues. For additional examples of the final EIS changes, see appendix B.
The eight federal agencies we interviewed all stated that they changed their final
EISs based on the EPA's comment on their draft EISs. We found a range of
changes, from minor enhancements to major project modifications. One lead
federal agency indicated a significant change, noting that the project originally
proposed would have used large amounts of water. Based on comments from the
EPA regarding water use, the project changed to utilizing a process which
reduced water need. Interviews with the five regional NEPA offices' staff found
that lead federal agencies use the EPA's comments effectively to change and
improve their EISs. One region provided an example of a new federal facility1
which would have encompassed 1,500 acres. In that case, the lead agency's first
choice was undeveloped farm land. According to regional staff, the EPA engaged
the agency and had them do an EIS. They ultimately picked the productive reuse
of an existing federal facility.
Improving Demonstration of Program Results
The EPA's Government Performance and Results Act goal for the NEPA review
program is a "... percent of significant impacts identified by EPA during the
NEPA review of all major proposed federal actions that will be mitigated." The
EPA's target was to have 70 percent of the impacts identified in the EPA's
comment letters on the draft EIS mitigated in the agency's response in the final
EIS. Project impacts on human health and the environment, and mitigation
measures, include:
	Choosing a less environmentally damaging alternative.
	Putting in wetlands mitigation measures.
	Working with environmental justice communities.2
1	This case was further outlined in the success story document provided to us by the agency.
2	According to the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, "Mitigation" includes: (a) avoiding the impact
altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action; (b) minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or
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The program's GPRA measure is documented with a count of substantive
comments (impacts) by the EPA and responses (mitigation) from the lead agency.
In assessing its success, the EPA completes a "GPRA Form" for each final EIS
reviewed. The EPA's GPRA measure form outlines EPA's comments on the draft
EIS and final EIS. In addition to the comments, it provides the EPA's assessment
as to actions taken by the lead agency based on EPA comment. For fiscal year
2012, EPA reported that it met its performance goals for the NEPA program:
"75% of the significant impacts identified in EPA's comment letters on Draft
EISs were avoided, minimized, or compensated for ("mitigated") by the lead
agencies in the final EISs published in FY 2012."
The lead federal agency responses to assure mitigation are not validated by EPA.
Agency EISs outline the expected benefits and consequences of a proposed
project. The mitigation measures included in these documents based on the EPA
comment are prospective improvements. The EPA currently has no system in
place to determine actual mitigation outcomes (i.e., impacts) based on the EIS
comments it provides.
According to EPA program staff, they consider their involvement in the EIS
process to end with the final EIS. There is only limited assessment of the Records
of Decision for these projects, and no verification that the agreed upon mitigation
measures occur when the projects go to construction. As a result, the EPA can
only project environmental effect from its review and comment. Three of the five
regional NEPA leads from our sample said that follow-up on selected projects is
needed. They indicated a need for follow-up to ensure that agreed upon mitigation
measures are actually put into place.
Council on Environmental Quality regulations implementing NEPA provide
authority under which EPA can request and obtain information from lead agencies
about agreed upon mitigation measures. The regulation states that, upon request,
the lead agency shall inform cooperating or commenting agencies on progress in
carrying out mitigation measures which they have proposed and which were
adopted by the agency making the decision.
In addition, the EPA's 1984 Policy and Procedures for the Review of Federal
Actions Impacting the Environment states that the EPA can conduct on a selected
basis follow-up activities on comments on final EISs in part to ensure that
agreed-upon mitigation measures are identified in the Record of Decision, and
that the agreed-upon mitigation measures are fully implemented. The policy also
notes that, where resources allow, the EPA is encouraged to assess the level of
compliance and effectiveness of federal agency mitigation measures. The lack of
magnitude of the action and its implementation; (c) rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the
affected environment; (d) reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations
during the life of the action; and (e) compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or
environments.
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a follow-up system to assess whether mitigation actions were implemented could
misinform the EPA program performance decisions, and public stakeholder
assessments about the EPA's actual impact and outcomes on the NEPA review
process.
Conclusions
Although the lead federal agencies' have responsibility for implementing and
monitoring agreed-upon mitigation measures, the EPA has the authority to request
actual data on mitigation progress from lead federal agencies and follow up on the
results of actions EPA has recommended. The agency cited limited resources as a
barrier to follow-up. However, resources could be selectively applied to follow up
on high priority or high impact federal projects to ensure that the agreed-upon
mitigation measures are actually implemented. As many federal agencies
resources are constrained at this time, it becomes more vital to ensure that
commitments made in the NEPA process were acted on. Moreover, the EPA can
more accurately assess and more completely report its results in mitigating
environmental impacts of federal government projects by following up on the
implementation of agreed upon mitigation measures.
Recommendation
We recommend that the director, Office of Federal Activities, Office of
Enforcement and Compliance Assurance:
1. Direct the NEPA Compliance Division to conduct, on a selected basis,
follow-up activities on EPA's proposed mitigation measures adopted
by agencies in final EISs, including contacting lead agencies and
documenting the results of these reviews.
Agency Comments and OIG Evaluation
The agency concurred with our findings and recommendation. The agency
provided a corrective action and estimated completion date that meets the intent
of the recommendation. The recommendation is resolved and open with corrective
actions ongoing. No further EPA response to this report is required. The agency's
detailed response is provided in Appendix C.
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Status of Recommendation and
Potential Monetary Benefits
RECOMMENDATIONS
POTENTIAL MONETARY
BENEFITS (In $000s)
Rec.
No.
Page
No.
Subject
Status1
Action Official
Direct the NEPA Compliance Division to conduct,
on a selected basis, follow-up activities on EPA's
proposed mitigation measures adopted by
agencies in final EISs, including contacting lead
agencies and documenting the results of these
reviews.
Director, Office of
Federal Activities,
Office of Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
Planned
Completion
Date
12/1/13
Claimed
Amount
Ag reed-To
Amount
1 0 = recommendation is open with agreed-to corrective actions pending
C = recommendation is closed with all agreed-to actions completed
U = recommendation is unresolved with resolution efforts in progress
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Appendix A
Environmental Impact Statements Reviewed
Lead Agency
Title
Status of Action
National Park
Service
Hampton National Historic Site, General Management Plan,
Implementation, Baltimore County, Maryland
Underway
Department of
Transportation
US-1 Transportation Improvements, Updated Information, from
Sandhill Road (NC 1971) to just North of Fox Road (NC 1606) to
Martson Road (NC 1001), Funding, and COE Section 404 Permit,
City of Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina
No Information
Nuclear
Regulatory
Commission
Levy Nuclear Plant Units 1 and 2, Application for Combined Licenses
(COLs) for Construction Permits and Operating Licenses,
(NUREG-1941), Levy County, Florida
On Hold (expected
to begin in 2015 or
later)
Bureau of Land
Management
HB In-Situ Solution Mining Project, Proposal to Extract the Potash
Remaining in Inactive Underground Mine, NPDES Permit, Eddy
County, New Mexico
Underway
U.S. Forest
Service
Black Fork Salvage Project, Proposal to Treat Timer Harvest,
Prescribe Fire, and Mechanical Thinning, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache
National Forest, Summit County, Utah
Not Started
Bureau of Land
Management
Sonoran Solar Energy Project, Construction and Operation of a
3756-megawatt (MW) Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Plant and
Ancillary Facilities on 3,702 Areas, Right-of-Way Granting, Maricopa
County, Arizona
Not Started
Bureau of
Reclamation
Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration
Project, to Restore Natural Geomorphic Ecological Process, Lake
Tahoe, EL Dorado County, California
Currently in
Litigation
Federal Energy
Regulatory
Commission
Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, Licensing
Application for Eagle Mountain Mine, Near the Town of Desert Center,
Riverside County, California
Currently in
Litigation
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers
Berths 302-306 American Presidents Line (APL) Container Terminal
Project, Construction and Operation, US Army COE Section 10 and
Section 103 of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act,
Los Angeles County, California
Unknown
Department of
the Navy
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Project, Land Acquisition
and Airspace Establishment to Support Large-Scale MAGTF Live-Fire
and Maneuver Training Facility, Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino
County, California
ROD signed
February 2013.
Request FAA to
commence air
space proposal
review. Goal for
FAA to complete by
2014.
Sources: EPA's internal EIS tracking database and interviews.
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Appendix B
Examples of Lead Agency Response
to the EPA's Comments
Project
Draft EIS Impact
EPA Comment
Final EIS
Berths 302-
306 American
Presidents
Line (APL)
Container
Terminal
Project,
Construction
and
Operation, US
Army Corps of
Engineers
The EJ analysis and
conclusions in the
DEIS state that there
will be
disproportionately high
and adverse effects on
minority and low-
income populations
due to air quality
impacts.
We recognize the considerable level of
analysis in the DEIS, but we note that
the proposed mitigation does not fully
offset the significant project-related
impacts to the local community. The
local community is already heavily
impacted, a condition likely to be
exacerbated by the many projects
currently planned at and around the
Port, such as the Corps of Engineers
PierS project, the Southern California
International Gateway, and perhaps
the expansion of Interstate 710.
The lead agencies have
$4.2 million in mitigation
funds that will be spent
to reduce health impacts
in low-income and
minority communities
(e.g. schools, housing,
health clinics, etc.).
Levy Nuclear
Plant (LNP)
Units 1 and 2,
Application for
Combined
Licenses
(COLs) for
Construction
Permits and
Operating
Licenses,
(NUREG-
1941), Levy
County, FL
As many as 2092.9
acres of wetlands
could be adversely
affected over the
course of the 60 years
that groundwater is
pumped to support the
LNP project. The DEIS
also states temporary
dewatering of wetlands
may occur in order to
install the blowdown
pipelines and other
structures. The
document also states
that this may occur for
2 to 4 year period.
The FEIS should provide a detailed
mitigation plan and the UMAM scores
for the impact and mitigation sites.
EPA also recommends that a "wetland
functional analysis" be conducted on
the adjacent wetlands and any
adverse wetland impacts due to
dewatering be mitigated.
In response to EPA's
on-going concerns
(expressed in several
review team meetings,
field visits, and in our
DEIS comment letter)
that sustained
groundwater pumping
may adversely impact
area wetlands, the FEIS
provides an analysis of
alternative sources of
water to support the LNP
project in lieu of
groundwater pumping.
EPA concurs with the
State of Florida's
approach.
Berths 302-
306 American
Presidents
Line (APL)
Container
Terminal,
Construction
and
Operation, US
Army Corps of
Engineers
In the DEIS, the Port of
Los Angeles
committed to reviewing
the terms of APL's
lease every 7 years to
determine if additional
air quality
improvements could
be made (e.g. lower
emitting on-dock diesel
equipment).
The FEIS should commit to reviewing
new technologies every five years from
the date of the most recent facility
lease. Additionally, technology reviews
and any resulting recommendations
should be made available to the public.
The Port of Los Angeles
agreed to do this every
five years.
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Project
Draft EIS Impact
EPA Comment
Final EIS
HB In-Situ
Solution
Mining
Project,
Proposal to
Extract the
Potash
Remaining in
Inactive
Underground
Mine, NPDES
Permit, Eddy
County, NM
The agency indicated
that the draft EIS
involved significant
water use.
If the analysis determines that
significant cumulative impacts would
occur, a mitigation plan for these
impacts should be included in the
FEIS. A mitigation plan for impacts to
groundwater resources could contain
water conservation improvements for
the entire potash mining process,
including mills, forming partnerships
with area residents, farmers, and
public water systems, and partnering
with city and county governments and
the State's water resources
administrator, the New Mexico Office
of the State Engineer to promulgate
new or improved water conservation
guidance for mining operations.
A mitigation plan for
impacts to groundwater
resources for water
conservation
improvements for the
entire potash mining
process, including mills,
forming partnerships with
area residents, farmers,
and public water
systems, and with city
and county governments
and the State's water
resources administrator,
the New Mexico Office of
the State Engineer to
promulgate new or
improved water
conservation guidance
for mining operations.
Source: OIG EIS tracking database and additional documentation provided by the EPA.
Abbreviations
APL:	American Presidents Line
COL:	Combined Licenses
DEIS:	Draft Environmental Impact Statement
EJ:	Environmental Justice
FEIS:	Final Environmental Impact Statement
LNP:	Levy Nuclear Plant
NPDES:	National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
UMAM:	Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method
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Appendix C
Agency Response
July 31, 2013
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: Response to Office of Inspector General's (OIG) Draft Report: "The EPA's
Comments Improve the Environmental Impact Statement Process But Verification
of Agreed-Upon Actions Is Needed" (Project No. OPE-FY13-0002)
FROM: Susan E. Bromm
Director
Office of Federal Activities
TO:	Carolyn Copper
Assistant Inspector General
Office of Program Evaluation
We reviewed the referenced OIG draft report and appreciate the opportunity to concur on the
finding that EPA is having a positive impact on final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs).
We are pleased to see that your evaluation confirms that our efforts are helping other federal
agencies develop better NEPA analyses.
We also appreciate the opportunity to respond to the recommendation in the draft report:
We recommend that the director, Office of Federal Activities, Office of Enforcement
and Compliance Assurance:
 Direct the NEPA Compliance Division to conduct, on a selected basis, follow-
up activities on EPA's proposed mitigation measures adopted by agencies in
final EISs, including contacting lead agencies and documenting the results of
these reviews.
While we have concerns regarding the time and resources needed to implement this
recommendation, particularly in light of recent budget cuts, we concur with the recommendation
and will work to develop a plan by December I, 2013 to conduct these follow-up activities on a
selected basis and as limited resources allow.
We would also like to note that while we can follow-up with the Lead Agencies on
recommended mitigation measures, it is the obligation of the Lead Agency to ensure the agreed
upon mitigation measures are fully implemented. EPA has no special role or authority under
NEPA or the Section 309 of the Clean Air Act to ensure that Lead Agencies meet any mitigation
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commitments outlined in the agency's NEPA Record of Decision (ROD). In that light, we
encourage you to consider working with the Inspector Generals of the Lead Agencies to conduct
an evaluation of whether Lead Agencies are implementing the mitigation measures committed to
in the RODs.
Thank you again for the opportunity to review the draft report.
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Appendix D
Distribution
Office of the Administrator
Director, Office of Federal Activities, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Associate Administrator, Office of Policy
Agency Follow-Up Official (the CFO)
Agency Follow-Up Coordinator
General Counsel
Associate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Associate Administrator for External Affairs and Environmental Education
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
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