All HHS policies and programs will be planned, developed, and implemented so as to achieve the policies declared by NEPA and required by the CEQ regulations to ensure responsible stewardship of the environment for present and future generations.
Environmental impact consideration is an integral part of HHS's planning and decision-making process. For actions initiated by the Department or one of its OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs, the process begins when an issue is identified that requires action under the statutes it administers. The identifying organization also may issue a public call for environmental data or otherwise consult with affected individuals or groups when a contemplated action in which it is or may be involved poses potentially significant environmental impacts.
Assessment of environmental factors continues throughout planning and is integrated with other program planning at the earliest possible time. Assessment of environmental factors includes the identification of the parts of the environment that may be affected by the action, the evaluation of pertinent environmental data, and the consideration of alternatives consistent with 40 CFR 1502.14.
NEPA and the CEQ regulations establish a mechanism for building environmental considerations into federal agency decision-making. This mechanism will be used to incorporate pollution prevention into the early planning stages of a proposal.
OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs shall determine, utilizing the procedures in the CEQ regulations and this chapter, whether any HHS proposal:
Is categorically excluded from preparation of an EIS or an EA (30-50-25; 30-20-40);
Requires preparation of an EA (30-50-30);
Requires preparation of an EIS (30-50-35).
OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs may choose to prepare a NEPA document for any HHS action at any time to further the purposes of NEPA.
OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs shall determine for each major federal action (hereinafter "action") not categorically excluded, the data needed for an environmental assessment and a system for acquiring such data. OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs shall prepare an environmental assessment for each proposed action not categorically excluded and, as a result of its findings prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).