When To Do an EIS for a Regulation?

EIS’s for regulations can be expensive. Yet it seems like sometimes it’s useful. A concerned citizen might ask, “is there some interagency (say CEQ) guideline as when to do such an investment?” or “is it an artifact of case law and different for each kind of action by each kind of agency?” Sort of a patchwork quilt of court rulings?

My instinct based on common sense would go something like, roadless regulations might make sense to do because there is something that can be projected and analyzed (well, more or less, guessed at, what you might have done, but now won’t do). Planning regulation not so much. Yet the Forest Service spend megabucks analyzing the 2008 and 2012 planning rules. Meanwhile, the EPA “forest” roads regulation has no EIS.

It appears to me that the Planning Rule, is an outlier then. My memory is fading for some of these things, but I think the FS was required to do one as an outcome of a court case. I did find this letter under scoping comments for an EIS for the 2005 Rule, which said it was Citizens for Better Forestry et al. v. USDA.

Can you think of other examples? What would be your “common sense” approach?

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