Usace 214 Agreement
The heart of synchronization is the simultaneous procedure itself. For ad hoc synchronization, participating agencies may reproduce, in whole or in part, the standard procedure described below in order to carry out simultaneous verifications without formal agreement. For formal agreements, this section should describe the step-by-step procedure and include all the information needs and responsibilities of the agencies. A synchronized process, recalled in a formal agreement, is useful in many situations. For some agencies, this may be a new process and writing agency roles is useful as a reference. A formal agreement also formalizes synchronization as a “new normal business practice.” Whatever the reason for pursuing a formal agreement instead of an ad hoc synchronization, it is useful to know where to start the drafting of the agreement. A formal agreement should contain the most common elements of successful agreements. These components can be adapted to individual needs and situations to offer flexibility beyond a standard model. Depending on the types of resources in a geographic area, a transport agency may have several projects involving the potential agencies in the agreement. While formal agreements are often very beneficial for the provision of a structured verification process, an informal process may, in certain circumstances, lead to a less complex authorisation review for some agencies. Each agency could continue to participate in the simultaneous verification process, but formal correspondence might not be required. For example, a proposed project may, due to its minimal effects, be eligible for an abridged review under a programmatic approach, and the issuing agency may not be obliged to re-examine the NEPA review process. The setting of reciprocal thresholds makes it possible to filter out more routine, less complex projects, for which a less formal procedure may be more effective.
Typical thresholds in an agreement could be as follows: many synchronized procedures are based on three to four checkpoints, consisting of important decisions made during the NEPA verification process. A formal agreement should describe the information necessary for the implementation of a checkpoint and describe the date on which this information is communicated to all authorities in order to allow everyone the necessary time to verify the materials and, if necessary, to request further clarification before the checkpoint. The checkpoint itself is usually a personal meeting during which agencies comment on submitted documents that are relevant only to their area of competence or expertise. At the end of the checkpoint, the agencies note whether there has been an “agreement” at the checkpoint. Federal authorization for categorical exclusions. RGL 05-07. NepA exclusions allowed for national authorisation 23 regulatory guidelines. . . . .
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