Replacement Terminal Environmental Assessment
3. Why is the EIS a longer process?
The EIS process is a longer process because the public process and the reviews take longer than an EA and the process includes more formal agency consultation, however, all of the sections for evaluation of environmental impacts of an EIS and EA are the same.
The EA is a process by which the sponsor (Airport) manages and produces the environmental documentation for all the sections within the EA including the Purpose and Need, Alternatives, Affected Environment, Environmental Consequences, and Mitigation (if needed). The EA is reviewed by the FAA and the FAA produces the Record of Decision, a Record of Decision and/or Finding of No Significant Impact, or determines that an EIS is required due to there being a significant impact that is not able to be mitigated. An EIS follows all of the same procedures and technical analysis as the EA but is a process that is managed by the FAA, not the sponsor (Airport). A project can start out with an EA and then move to an EIS if a significant impact is identified or can start out as an EIS if a significant impact is known at the beginning of the process. The EIS process is usually longer than an EA by several months to a couple years due to the public input and notifications, review times, and formal agency consultation process.