MEPA Review may result in the issuance of a Certificate with a Scope for a Single Environmental Impact Review (SEIR), Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) as well as a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report.
Guide Environmental Impact Report Preparation and Filing
Table of Contents
IMPORTANT UPDATE CONCERNING MEPA OPERATIONS IN LIGHT OF COVID-19 REPONSE
Until further notice, the MEPA Office will operate remotely and only project filings that are submitted electronically will be accepted during this time. Additional information regarding submission of MEPA filings, including an Electronic Distribution List for state agencies, may be found here and supersedes the hard copy filing and distribution requirements identified below.
Preparing an EIR
The EIR should respond to the Scope laid out in the most recent Certificate and as directed by 11.07(6) of the MEPA regulations. The EIR shall
- reflect the status of project planning and design
- the type and size of the project
- the requirements of any agency action
- the availability of reasonable alternatives and methods to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts, and
- asses measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate environmental impacts, and identify measures the Proponent will commit to.
EIR Filing Requirements
Below is a brief outline of the sections that should be included in an EIR filing. Please consult the MEPA Regulations (301 CMR 11.07(6)) for more detail on each section.
- Title Page: Name & location of project, EEA File Number, Type of EIR, Name of Proponent, Name of preparer, and Date of filing.
- Table of Contents: Title and page number of all sections, maps, plans, tables, figures, and appendices of the EIR
- Secretary's certificates: A copy of each Secretary's Certificate issued for the Project
- Summary: A brief description in clear, nontechnical language including name and location of the Project, EEA File Number, brief Project description, list of any Permit, Financial Assistance, or Land Transfer,summary of alternatives, summary of potential environmental impacts, and mitigation measures for the Project.
- Project Description: A detailed description and analysis of the nature and location of the Project.
- Alternatives to the Project: A description and analysis of alternatives to the Project
- Existing Environment: A description and analysis of the physical, biological, chemical, economic, and social conditions of the Project site, its immediate surroundings, and the region.
- Assessment of Impacts: A detailed description and assessment of the negative and positive potential environmental impacts of the Project and its alternatives.
- Statutory and Regulatory Standards and Requirements: A list of any Permit, Financial Assistance, or Land Transfer that is or may be required, and the applicable statutory and regulatory standards.
- Mitigation Measures: A description and assessment of physical, biological and chemical measures and management techniques designed to limit negative environmental impacts or to cause positive environmental impacts during development and operation of the Project.
- Proposed Section 61 Findings: Proposed findings in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30, section 61 for each Agency for each Agency Action to be taken on the Project.
- Response to Comments: A response to the certificate of the Secretary on the previous review document and each comment received on the previous review document, provided that the subject matter of the comment is within the Scope.
- Appendices: A presentation of detailed technical data (e.g., traffic analyses, hydrologic calculations, modeling data), to the extent necessary to keep the main text of the EIR clear and readable.
The Proponent may vary the outline of ordinary EIR sections to address one aspect of the project or issue at a time, provided that the EIR addresses the substance of each section.
As is reasonably possible based on the status of project planning and design, type and size of the project, EIRs should be filed soon after issuance of the Secretary's Certificate and Scope. Prior to or when filing the EIR with the Secretary, the Proponent shall circulate copies of the EIR as follows:
- Two copies to the MEPA Office (inclusion of an additional electronic copy preferred)
- One copy to each person or agency who commented on the ENF and to any other entity identified by the Secretary in the scope
- A copy to any person or agency requesting it during the comment period.
Public Comment and Review Period
Anyone may submit public comments on an EIR within thirty (30) days of publication of the availability of the EIR in Environmental Monitor. Please note that the public comment period on a DEIR may be extended on account of the Proponent's failure to meet circulation requirements, with the consent of the Proponent, or as part of a Special Review Procedure (SRP). Comment periods on a SEIR or FEIR may not be extended.
Within seven (7) days after the close of the public comment period, the Secretary will issue a certificate stating whether or not the EIR adequately complies with MEPA. If an EIR is determined to be inadequate, the Proponent will be required to file a supplemental EIR (draft, final, or single EIR).