EA Law and Legal Definition

EA is the abbreviation for environmental assessments. An EA is a screening document used to determine if an agency will need to prepare either an Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) or construct a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). EAs are concise public documents that include: a brief discussion of the need for the proposal; of alternatives and a listing of agencies and person consulted.

EA is only undertaken if the proposed action is found to lie within the jurisdiction of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The lead agency is now required to compose a written environmental assessment (EA) to determine whether or not the federal action would possess significant impacts on the environment. If after a thorough investigation and drafting of the environmental assessment no substantial effects on the environment are found the agency may produce a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). If the agency feels comfortable with its FONSI, then they may move forward with implementing their proposed action or plan.