Disclaimer: You have been directed to the updated reference for this information. 516 3.2(B) has been replaced by 43 CFR 46.300(B).
The Department finalized and published its NEPA procedures in the Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR Part 46) on October 15, 2008. Previously, the Department’s NEPA procedures were included in Part 516, Chapters 1 – 6 of the DM. Portions of Chapters 1 - 6 that were not converted into the regulations are revised and updated in Chapters 1 – 3 of Part 516 as information and explanatory guidance. Chapter 7 was not included in the final rule because it provides internal administrative guidance specific to Departmental review of environmental documents prepared by other Federal agencies. Chapter 7 is revised and renumbered as Chapter 4.
Click here for full text - 43 CFR Part 46
43 CFR 46.300: Purpose of an Environmental Assessment and When It Must Be Prepared
The purpose of an environmental assessment is to allow the Responsible Official to determine whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact.
(a) A bureau must ensure that an environmental assessment is prepared for all proposed Federal actions, except those:
(1) That are covered by a categorical exclusion;
(2) That are covered sufficiently by an earlier environmental document as determined and documented by the Responsible Official; or
(3) For which the bureau has already decided to prepare an environmental impact statement.
(b) A bureau may prepare an environmental assessment for any proposed action at any time to:
(1) Assist in planning and decision-making;
(2) Further the purposes of NEPA when no environmental impact statement is necessary; or
(3) Facilitate environmental impact statement preparation.