National Environmental Policy Act at TDEC

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies and those working on behalf of federal agencies to consider impacts of proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions through the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) or environmental assessment (EA) ("NEPA documents") or determination of a categorical exclusion (CE).

As a trustee of natural resources in Tennessee and as the state environmental regulatory agency, TDEC is responsible for participating in this process by reviewing and commenting on NEPA documents prepared by federal agencies (i.e., "cooperating agency"). Other activities may include:

  • Participating in the NEPA process at the earliest possible time, including during the scoping process. Formal NEPA scoping documents are authored by the federal agency or an agent designated by the federal agency.
  • Making available staff support at the lead agency's request to enhance the lead agency's interdisciplinary capabilities.

Timelines for review and comment on NEPA documents vary, ranging anywhere from 30-60 days following the release of the document.

Within TDEC, the Office of Policy and Planning is responsible for the coordination of department-wide responses to requests for review and comment on NEPA documents for proposed projects within Tennessee that trigger requirements pursuant to NEPA. The Policy Office does not coordinate preliminary environmental review requests. These requests should continue to be directed to the appropriate TDEC division(s).

TDEC maintains an electronic- and centrally-managed database that features a public facing portal for customers to submit NEPA document review requests and view TDEC’s comments on past NEPA documents. 

To submit a NEPA document review request please visit the NEPA Comment Request Portal page and fully complete the submittal information.

Once a request for review has been submitted, the Project Contact will receive a confirmation notification via email that the request has been successfully submitted. Upon TDEC’s completion of the NEPA review and preparation of comments, the Project Contact will receive an email notification of review completion containing a link to a PDF copy of TDEC’s Consolidated Response letter.

To access TDEC’s comments to past NEPA document review requests, please visit the TDEC Comment Letters in Response to Draft NEPA Documents page.  

NOTE: The Policy Office only coordinates review and comment of draft NEPA documents (environmental assessments or environmental impact statements) at this time. Notifications of intent to prepare an EIS or EA, environmental review requests or requests for information pertaining to the scoping of a formal environmental impact statement or environmental assessment should be directed to appropriate division or field office staff.