NEPA & Environmental Reviews

What is NEPA?

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to consider the potential environmental impacts of projects or initiatives (federal actions) and disclose them to the public. Environmental Assessments provide federal agencies with information about their proposals, and help them make informed decisions about significant initiatives.

Environmental Study Process

The environmental study process provides a framework for complying with NEPA by outlining a structured approach that applies to all federal agencies and their associated actions. It requires evaluation of the environmental and related social and economic effects of a proposed action in a manner that is transparent and open to the public.

Environmental Study Process Diagram

The NEPA process is triggered when a federal agency, such as the FAA, decides to take an action. Once the FAA has developed a proposed action, the agency conducts a preliminary technical and environmental review to help determine the appropriate level of environmental review.

The purpose of an EA is to determine if FAA’s proposed action has the potential to result in significant environmental effects. If there are no significant impacts, then the proposed action may proceed under a categorical exclusion if one applies, or, following the completion of an environmental assessment, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

In this case, the Proposed Action is a new RNAV (GPS) arrival procedure for Runway 4-Left. The preliminary environmental review found that the new procedure qualified for a categorical exclusion but in response to public input received from the community, local, state, and federal officials, the FAA elected to conduct an EA to further study the procedure.

Environmental Assessment Process

The EA process allows the public to comment on the Proposed Action. The EA helps the public understand what the FAA is proposing and the potential environmental consequences associated with a proposed action. The NEPA process requires the FAA to disclose to the public actions that may have environmental effects.

Environmental Assessment Process Diagram

The EA documents the Proposed Action, the purpose and need for that action, and identifies any potential alternatives to the Proposed Action including the No Action Alternative. The FAA identifies the environmental impact categories likely to be affected by the Proposed Action, such as air quality, historical resources, noise, environmental justice, etc. The FAA then assesses the impacts to these environmental resource categories. The potential impacts are documented and a draft EA is distributed for public review and comment. All public comments will be reviewed, considered and addressed in the Final EA before the agency issues a final environmental determination on the Proposed Action.

The FAA opened a 60-day public comment period which began on Sept. 21 and ends on Nov. 20, 2020. You can comment on the Draft EA on the Comments page or by sending an email to or by sending a letter to:

Environmental Science Associates
c\o Boston Logan RNAV (GPS) Approach EA
4200 West Cypress St, Suite 450
Tampa, FL 33607

Please note before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.