The three categories of NEPA actions include Categorical Exclusions, Environmental Assessments, and Environmental Impact Statements.
Categorical Exclusions (CEs)
Actions that FHWA has determined do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the environment. There is a Programmatic Agreement between SCDOT and FHWA-SC that streamlines the approval process for Type A and B CEs. Approval by FHWA-SC for CE Type C concludes the process.
Environmental Assessment (EA)
Undertaken when the significance of environmental impacts is uncertain. FHWA-SC approves an EA before it is made available to the public. If it is determined that there will be no significant impacts, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be prepared by FHWA-SC to conclude the process.
Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
Undertaken for major projects having significant environmental impacts. SAFETEA-LU modifies the NEPA process for projects that require an EIS.