Replacement Terminal Environmental Assessment
2. What is the difference between an Environmental Assessment and an Environmental Impact Statement?
When significant impacts are not anticipated to occur or when significant impacts caused by the project can be mitigated to a level below the threshold level of significant, an Environmental Assessment (EA) is typically prepared.
The EA includes numerous technical analyses and research and serves to document the anticipated natural and human impacts from a proposed project. Refer to Question 1 for further details on the specific resources typically evaluated.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is prepared when there are known or anticipated significant impacts that cannot be mitigated to a level below the threshold of significant.
For airport projects, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines and determines the extent of the significant threshold for impacts to the natural and human environment. An example would be noise. Noise impacts (using the FAA model) include those greater than 65 decibels occurring at a residential location, as an average decibel over a 24-hour period.
Based upon FAA guidance and consultation, an EA is being prepared for the Trenton-Mercer Airport Terminal project. If, during the preparation of the EA, the FAA determines there may be significant impacts that cannot be mitigated to a level less than significant, the project would be changed from an EA to an EIS.