What Is NEPA Assignment?
NEPA Assignment is a program which formally assigns the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) NEPA responsibilities to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). It means ODOT assumes responsibility for all environmental laws, rules and orders, interagency consultation, and any other environmental related actions for transportation projects in Ohio. Under this program, ODOT is deemed to be a Federal Agency [FHWA] for environmental matters.
What's the big takeaway here?
ODOT is saving taxpayer dollars by reducing delays through streamlining the environmental process required for all transportation projects.
ODOT and FHWA NEPA Assignment MOU
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) concerning the State of Ohio’s participation in the Project Delivery Program pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 was originally executed and went into effect December 28, 2015. The MOU was amended June 6, 2018. This MOU means that FHWA has assigned ODOT some FHWA NEPA responsibilities for environmental review, consultation or other actions required under federal environmental law that pertain to the review or approval of specific highway, railroad, public transportation and multimodal projects. The responsibilities were assigned under the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (Assignment Program) codified at 23 USC 327. The assigned responsibilities are subject to the same procedural and substantive requirements as previously applied to FHWA. The NEPA Assignment Program does not preempt or interfere with any power, jurisdiction, responsibility or authority of an agency, excluding FWHA, under applicable laws and regulations.
Renewing the MOU
The current NEPA Assignment MOU between FHWA and ODOT will terminate December 11, 2020. Therefore, ODOT has submitted a request to renew its participation in the NEPA Assignment Program. The Renewal Package, which includes ODOT’s Application and the DRAFT Renewal MOU is currently posted to the Federal Register website for public review and comment. Comments regarding the Renewal Application and MOU are due July 24, 2020.
ODOT Self-Assessment Results
FHWA Audit Results
The Ohio NEPA Assignment Audit 4 Report is currently published on the Federal Register website for public review and comment. Comments regarding Audit 4 are due July 17, 2020.
ODOT Audit Close-Out Reports
The Road to NEPA Assignment
For background information and historical information about how Ohio earned NEPA Assignment designation, click here.