The FHWA NEPA process allows transportation officials to make project decisions that balance engineering and transportation needs with social, economic, and natural environmental factors. During the process, a wide range of partners including the public, businesses, interest groups, and agencies at all levels of government, provide input into project and environmental decisions.
NEPA requires Federal agencies to prepare an EIS for major Federal actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment. An EIS is a full disclosure document that details the process through which a project is developed, the consideration of a range of reasonable alternatives, the potential impacts of the alternatives, and compliance with applicable environmental laws.
The EIS document will consist of:
A Draft EIS is a report presented to the public that discusses alternatives that have been studied and their impacts. To select a Preferred Alternative, detailed studies will be conducted to identify, analyze and compare existing resources (both human and natural) in the project area that may be impacted by the alternatives. Upon completion of these studies, SCDOT will recommend a Preferred Alternative in the Draft EIS. This report is made available for public review at local libraries and at Public Hearings. Public comments on the Draft EIS and the Preferred Alternative are solicited during and immediately after public hearings. The selection of a Preferred Alternative will not be finalized until comments from the public and other agencies have been fully evaluated.
After the Draft EIS Public Hearing, a Final EIS will be developed to study the Preferred Alternative that SCDOT has identified in more detail. At this time, intensive field surveys are conducted on the Preferred Alternative. A detailed analysis of impacts to the environment and communities and mitigation for these impacts is presented in a Final EIS. A Final EIS also includes responses to agency and public comments that were received on the Draft EIS. A Final EIS also includes responses to substantial comments received from the agencies and the public on the Draft EIS.