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Environmental Reports—General Requirements

§ 51.45 Environmental report

(a) General. As required by §§ 51.50, 51.53, 51.54, 51.55, 51.60, 51.61, 51.62, or 51.68, as appropriate, each applicant or petitioner for rulemaking shall submit with its application or petition for rulemaking one signed original of a separate document entitled "Applicant's" or "Petitioner's Environmental Report," as appropriate. An applicant or petitioner for rulemaking may submit a supplement to an environmental report at any time.

(b) Environmental considerations. The environmental report shall contain a description of the proposed action, a statement of its purposes, a description of the environment affected, and discuss the following considerations:

(1) The impact of the proposed action on the environment. Impacts shall be discussed in proportion to their significance;

(2) Any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented;

(3) Alternatives to the proposed action. The discussion of alternatives shall be sufficiently complete to aid the Commission in developing and exploring, pursuant to section 102(2)(E) of NEPA, "appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources." To the extent practicable, the environmental impacts of the proposal and the alternatives should be presented in comparative form;

(4) The relationship between local short-term uses of man's environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity; and

(5) Any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.

(c) Analysis. The environmental report must include an analysis that considers and balances the environmental effects of the proposed action, the environmental impacts of alternatives to the proposed action, and alternatives available for reducing or avoiding adverse environmental effects. An environmental report required for materials licenses under § 51.60 must also include a description of those site preparation activities excluded from the definition of construction under § 51.4 which have been or will be undertaken at the proposed site (i.e., those activities listed in paragraphs (2)(i) and (2)(ii) in the definition of construction contained in § 51.4); a description of the impacts of such excluded site preparation activities; and an analysis of the cumulative impacts of the proposed action when added to the impacts of such excluded site preparation activities on the human environment. An environmental report prepared at the early site permit stage under § 51.50(b), limited work authorization stage under § 51.49, construction permit stage under § 51.50(a), or combined license stage under § 51.50(c) must include a description of impacts of the preconstruction activities performed by the applicant at the proposed site (i.e., those activities listed in paragraph (1)(ii) in the definition of "construction" contained in § 51.4), necessary to support the construction and operation of the facility which is the subject of the early site permit, limited work authorization, construction permit, or combined license application. The environmental report must also contain an analysis of the cumulative impacts of the activities to be authorized by the limited work authorization, construction permit, or combined license in light of the preconstruction impacts described in the environmental report. Except for an environmental report prepared at the early site permit stage, or an environmental report prepared at the license renewal stage under § 51.53(c), the analysis in the environmental report should also include consideration of the economic, technical, and other benefits and costs of the proposed action and its alternatives. Environmental reports prepared at the license renewal stage under § 51.53(c) need not discuss the economic or technical benefits and costs of either the proposed action or alternatives except if these benefits and costs are either essential for a determination regarding the inclusion of an alternative in the range of alternatives considered or relevant to mitigation. In addition, environmental reports prepared under § 51.53(c) need not discuss issues not related to the environmental effects of the proposed action and its alternatives. The analyses for environmental reports shall, to the fullest extent practicable, quantify the various factors considered. To the extent that there are important qualitative considerations or factors that cannot be quantified, those considerations or factors shall be discussed in qualitative terms. The environmental report should contain sufficient data to aid the Commission in its development of an independent analysis.

(d) Status of compliance. The environmental report shall list all Federal permits, licenses, approvals and other entitlements which must be obtained in connection with the proposed action and shall describe the status of compliance with these requirements. The environmental report shall also include a discussion of the status of compliance with applicable environmental quality standards and requirements including, but not limited to, applicable zoning and land-use regulations, and thermal and other water pollution limitations or requirements which have been imposed by Federal, State, regional, and local agencies having responsibility for environmental protection. The discussion of alternatives in the report shall include a discussion of whether the alternatives will comply with such applicable environmental quality standards and requirements.

(e) Adverse information. The information submitted pursuant to paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section should not be confined to information supporting the proposed action but should also include adverse information.

[49 FR 9381, Mar. 12, 1984, as amended at 61 FR 28486, June 5, 1996; 61 FR 66542, Dec. 18, 1996; 68 FR 58810, Oct. 10, 2003; 72 FR 49511, Aug. 28, 2007; 72 FR 57443, Oct. 9, 2007; 73 FR 22787, Apr. 28, 2008; 76 FR 56965, Sep. 15, 2011]

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