DEFINITION
Environmental Assessment

A document that complies with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) law and regulation prepared early in a planning process (Federal) that evaluates the potential environmental consequences of a project or activity.  An assessment includes the same topical areas as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), but only assesses the effects of a preferred action, and in less detail than an EIS.  An EA results in a decision, based on an assessment of the degree of impact of an action, that an EIS is necessary, or that an action will have no significant effect and a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) can be made.

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