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DOD/COE RIN: 0710-AB28 Publication ID: Fall 2020 
Title: ●Procedures for Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act Under the Civil Works Program 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) will be proposing changes to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations for its Civil Works Program to conform with the recent amendments to the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) NEPA regulations (85 FR 43304). The proposal would provide targeted updates to the implementing procedures for NEPA applicable to all of the Corps’ Civil Works Programs, such as emergency provisions and categorical exclusion adoption procedures, while eliminating duplication and redundancy with the CEQ regulation. In two separate rulemaking actions the Corps is proposing to add new categorical exclusions for use in the Civil Works Programs and to update the NEPA implementing procedures specific to the Corps’ Regulatory Program.


Agency: Department of Defense(DOD)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Other 
CFR Citation: 33 CFR 230   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The Corps may conduct rulemaking to propose amendments to the Corps’ National Environmental Policy Act regulations at 33 CFR part 230 for Corps projects to be consistent with the Council on Environmental Quality's updated National Environmental Policy Act regulations.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Corps is considering revising its procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA regulations. These proposed revisions would clarify and update the regulation, incorporate current Corps NEPA procedures and practices, reduce paperwork and delays, and promote better decisions consistent with national environmental policy set forth in NEPA.


The preferred alternative would be to conduct rulemaking to amend 33 CFR part 230 to conform with CEQ's 2020 amendments to its NEPA regulation. The no action alternative would result in continued use of the current regulation that contains outdated roles, responsibilities, and procedures. This would result in increasing inefficiencies in Corps NEPA analyses and could unnecessarily delay Corps actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. The next best alternative to a complete revision of the regulation would be a revision of the categorical exclusions only (see RIN 0710-AA92). This alternative would allow for use of new categorical exclusions instead of preparation of environmental assessments, but would not address changes and resulting inefficiencies in Corps roles, responsibilities and procedures that have changed significantly since the regulation was first published in 1988.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The proposed rule would revise Corps procedures allowing for consistent implementation across the Corps for NEPA responsibilities.


The proposed action is not anticipated to increase risk to public health, safety, or the environment because the Corps would still be responsible for ensuring full compliance with NEPA. It might only alter how and when other Federal, Tribal, State, and local government agencies provide their comments during the NEPA process. All proposed Corps actions will still continue to give appropriate consideration to the environmental effects in their decision-making and preparation of detailed environmental statements on recommendations or reports significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/00/2021 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Forrest B. Vanderbilt
Department of Defense
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
CEIWR, 7701 Telegraph Road,
Alexandria, VA 22315-3860
Phone:703 428-6288