Northern Branch Corridor Project > EIS Process
What is an EIS? - EIS Process - NEPA Requirements - Notice of Intent - Scoping - Impacts

What is an EIS?

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a report that is required by the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, which documents the potential social, economic, and environmental effects of a proposed project or action, and alternatives to it. NEPA regulations govern the environmental review process for projects that may result in significant environmental impacts, to ensure that all significant issues are identified and the full range of alternatives and impacts of the proposed project are addressed. An EIS is part of a process that must be completed for a project to be eligible for federal capital funds. An EIS will identify significant environmental issues in the environmental review process, including thorough consultation with federal, state, and local agencies and from public input.

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EIS Process

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and NJ TRANSIT are studying the restoration of rail passenger service on the Northern Branch Corridor between North Bergen and Tenafly. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared under the direction of the FTA, in conformance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), and all NEPA requirements.

Steps in the Process

There are number of steps in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

  • The FTA, as the lead federal agency, will initiate scoping with publication of a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register.
  • Scoping: The process by which the lead federal agency seeks comment and input from the public, stakeholders, government agencies, and others on a number of issues including:
  • After scoping, the project team works to analyze the alternatives, determine the impacts of those alternatives and create a draft EIS (DEIS).
  • Following publication of the DEIS, the FTA will issue a Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register announcing that the DEIS is available for agency and public review and comment.
  • The final EIS (FEIS) includes the assessment and consideration of all comments received on the DEIS and responds to them. The FEIS also identifies the selected alternative.
  • The FTA issues a Record of Decision (ROD) that approves the FEIS after which NJ TRANSIT can take action.
  • Throughout the EIS process, there are numerous opportunities for the public to get involved.

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NEPA Requirements

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will lead the preparation of the Northern Branch Corridor Project EIS in conformance with the National Environment Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), legislation aimed at ensuring that environmental information is available to public officials and the public before decisions are made.

In addition to NEPA provisions, the EIS will incorporate guidelines and regulations of:

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Notice of Intent

The Notice of Intent which was issued by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and published in the Federal Register and is available in the Documents section of this Web site.

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The public scoping process begins after the publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI). During scoping, the plan for conducting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is issued in the form of a Scoping Document, with the purpose of providing information - to the public and agencies - regarding the Northern Branch Corridor Project environmental review process, preliminary alternatives, screening criteria, impacts analyses, and public involvement opportunities. The public and interested parties are invited to offer comments on the plan, both orally at publicized meetings and in writing.

The Scoping document is available in the Documents section of this Web site.

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The EIS will consider all potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects of the project alternatives upon the social, economic and environmental resources in the project area.

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