(1) An environmental impact statement (EIS) shall be prepared when the environmental assessment indicates that a potential or proposed action may have a significant impact upon the environment of the United States or the global commons.
(2) The EIS process will commence:
(i) For adjudicatory proceedings, when the Commission issues an order of investigation or a complaint is filed;
(ii) For rulemaking or legislative proposals, upon issuance of the proposal by the Commission; and
(iii) For other actions, the time the action is noticed in the Federal Register.
(3) The major decision points in the EIS process are:
(i) The issuance of an initial decision in those cases assigned to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ); and
(ii) The issuance of the Commission's final decision or report on the action.
(4) The EIS shall consider potentially significant impacts upon the quality of the human environment of the United States and, in appropriate cases, upon the environment of the global commons outside the jurisdiction of any nation.
(b) Draft environmental impact statements.
(1) A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) will initially be prepared in accordance with 40 CFR part 1502.
(2) The DEIS shall be distributed to every party to a Commission proceeding for which it was prepared. There will be no fee charged to such parties. One copy per person will also be provided to interested persons at their request. The fee charged such persons shall be that provided in §503.43 of this chapter.
(3) Comments on the DEIS must be received by the Commission within ten (10) days of the date the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes in the Federal Register notice that the DEIS was filed with it. Sixteen copies shall be submitted as provided in §504.3(a). Comments shall be as specific as possible and may address the adequacy of the DEIS or the merits of the alternatives discussed in it. All comments received will be made available to the public. Extensions of time for commenting on the DEIS may be granted by the Commission for up to ten (10) days if good cause is shown.
(c) Final environmental impact statements.
(1) After receipt of comments on the DEIS, a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) will be prepared pursuant to 40 CFR part 1502, which shall include a discussion of the possible alternative actions to a potential or proposed action. The FEIS will be distributed in the same manner as specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.
(2) The FEIS shall be prepared prior to the Commission's final decision and shall be filed with the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission. Upon filing, it shall become part of the administrative record.
(3) For any Commission action which has been assigned to an ALJ for evidentiary hearing:
(i) The FEIS shall be submitted prior to the close of the record, and
(ii) The ALJ shall consider the environmental impacts and alternatives contained in the FEIS in preparing the initial decision.
(i) For all proposed Commission actions, any party may, by petition to the Commission within ten (10) days following EPA's notice in the Federal Register, assert that the FEIS contains a substantial and material error of fact which can only be properly resolved by conducting an evidentiary hearing, and expressly request that such a hearing be held. Other parties may submit replies to the petition within ten (10) days of its receipt.
(ii) The Commission may delineate the issue(s) and refer them to an ALJ for expedited resolution or may elect to refer the petition to an ALJ for consideration.
(iii) The ALJ shall make findings of fact on the issue(s) and shall certify such findings to the Commission as a supplement to the FEIS. To the extent that such findings differ from the FEIS, it shall be modified by the supplement.
(iv) Discovery may be granted by the ALJ on a showing of good cause and, if granted, shall proceed on an expedited basis.
[49 FR 44415, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984, as amended at 64 FR 23550, May 3, 1999]