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5000 - Statements of Policy


NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT PROCEDURES RELATING TO FILINGS MADE WITH THE FDIC

This Statement of Policy addresses the FDIC's compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4331, et seq. (NEPA), with respect to applications, notices, and requests (filings) submitted to the FDIC in accordance with governing regulations at 12 CFR part 303. The procedures in this Statement of Policy primarily affect applications for deposit insurance for de novo institutions, establishment of a domestic branch, and relocation of a domestic branch or main office. There may be extraordinary circumstances where these NEPA procedures also impact other filings submitted pursuant to part 303.

A. Responsibility of the FDIC

The NEPA sets forth a national policy to promote preservation of the environment. Section 102(2)(C) of the NEPA requires, in part, that all agencies of the Federal Government include in every recommendation or report on major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment a detailed statement that addresses the environmental impact of the proposal. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has adopted regulations that implement section 102(2)(C) of the NEPA. 40 CFR part 1500.

The FDIC believes that its decisions on part 303 filings will rarely have a significant effect on the human environment. Nevertheless, it is the policy of the FDIC to evaluate fully its regulatory actions, as necessary, in accordance with the requirements of the NEPA. This Statement of Policy supplements, and shall be used by the FDIC in conjunction with, the CEQ regulations.

B. Background

NEPA and the implementing CEQ regulations require a Federal agency to prepare an "environmental impact statement" (EIS) to analyze the effects of, and discuss alternatives for, any proposed major Federal action (including approval of a filing) significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Often, to determine whether an EIS must be prepared, an agency will prepare an "environmental assessment" (EA). The EA will result in either a finding that an EIS must be prepared, or a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).

C. Definitions

As used in this statement of policy:

•  Major federal action includes actions with effects that may be major and which are potentially subject to Federal control and responsibility.

•  Environmental impact statement (EIS) means a detailed written statement as required by section 102(2)(C) of the NEPA which analyzes the environmental impact of the FDIC's approval of a filing.

•  Environmental assessment (EA) means a concise document that sets forth sufficient information for the FDIC to determine whether to prepare an EIS.

•  Finding of no significant impact (FONSI) means a determination that approval of the filing will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment and therefore no further NEPA analysis is required.

•  Categorical exclusion means a category of filings that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment, and which require no NEPA analysis.

D. Categorical Exclusions

The CEQ regulations require Federal agencies to develop categorical exclusions as part of the agencies' NEPA procedures. 40 CFR 1507.3(b)(2)(ii). Accordingly, the FDIC is establishing categorical exclusions for all filings made by depository institutions pursuant to part 303 with the exception of applications for:

(1) Deposit insurance for de novo institutions.

(2) Establishment of a domestic branch, or relocation of a domestic branch or main office.

All other part 303 filings are subject to categorical exclusions and, therefore, require no further NEPA action. Consistent with the CEQ regulations, however, the FDIC may request additional information from applicants if extraordinary circumstances indicate that a normally categorically excluded action may have a significant environmental effect. Such extraordinary circumstances may exist, for example, where filings involve real property where endangered or threatened species, wetlands or floodplains may be present, where the applicant's proposed activity impacts cultural or historic sites, or where construction is proposed.

E. FDIC Procedure

In reviewing a part 303 filing, the FDIC will determine whether the filing falls within the categorical exclusions established by this statement of policy. If the filing falls within the categorical exclusions, the FDIC will determine whether the proposal involves any extraordinary circumstances that require NEPA analysis. If necessary, the FDIC may request additional information from an applicant to aid in this determination.

1. Environmental Assessment

The FDIC must prepare an EA before approving a filing for (1) deposit insurance for a de novo institution, or (2) establishment of a domestic branch, or relocation of a domestic branch or main office. The applicant must provide sufficient information for the FDIC to determine whether the application may affect the quality of the human environment.

The applicant shall provide information on compliance with local zoning laws and regulations, and effects on traffic patterns (including, for example, adequacy of roads and parking places, increase or decrease of traffic hazards and congestion, and favorable impacts such as potential decrease in pollution or fuel consumption). The FDIC may request additional information, as warranted, on other matters. Based on its evaluation of this information, the FDIC will prepare the EA.

2. Finding of No Significant Impact

If the EA indicates that approval of the filing will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment, the NEPA process will conclude with a FONSI to document the FDIC's determination of no significant effect on the human environment.

3. Environmental Impact Statement

If the EA indicates that approval of the filing may significantly affect the quality of the human environment, the FDIC will prepare an EIS in accordance with the CEQ regulations.

F. Public Involvement

Pursuant to the CEQ regulations, the FDIC will make diligent efforts to involve the public in its NEPA compliance activities. In addition to the public notice requirements set forth in part 303, the FDIC will apprise the public of the availability of any environmental impact statements it prepares and will provide opportunity for public comment prior to the finalization of those documents.

G. Summary and Conclusion

Most of the filings made by depository institutions pursuant to part 303 will fall within the categorical exclusions established by this Statement of Policy. For those filings not falling within the categorical exclusions, or involving extraordinary circumstances, the FDIC will analyze relevant information with respect to environmental factors and incorporate it into the FDIC's environmental assessment. Filings that require the FDIC's preparation of an environmental impact statement are expected to be extremely rare. When those instances arise, the FDIC will comply with the requirements of the CEQ regulations regarding the preparation and processing of environmental impact statements.

H. Information Requests

Inquiries regarding specific filings and requests for documents and information should be directed to the appropriate regional director of the FDIC's Division of Supervision.

By order of the Board of Directors, October 27, 1998

[Source: 63 Fed. Reg. 63475, November 13, 1998, effective December 14, 1998]


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