Review Process

Step I: Applicant consults/meets with DEQ about potential need for SEPA document and to identify/scope issues of concern.

Step II: Applicant submits draft environmental document to DEQ.

  • Environmental document is either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS).

Step III: DEQ-Lead Division reviews environmental document.

Step IV: DEQ-other Divisions review environmental document.

  • 15-25 calendar days.
  • DEQ issues must be resolved prior to sending to the Department of Administration - State Clearinghouse (SCH) review.

Step V: DEQ-Lead Division sends environmental document and FONSIa to SCHb.

Step VI: SCH publishes Notice of availability for environmental document in NC Environmental Bulletin. Copies of environmental document and FONSI are sent to appropriate state agencies and regional clearinghouses for comments.

  • Interested parties have either 30 or 45 calendar days from the Bulletin publication date to provide comments.

Step VII: SCH forwards copies of environmental document comments to DEQ-Lead Division who ensures that applicant addresses comments.

  • SCH reviews applicant's responses to comments and recommends whether environmental document is adequate to meet SEPA.
  • Substantial comments may cause applicant to submit revised environmental document to DEQ-Lead Division. This will result in repeating of Steps III-VI.

Step VIII: Applicant submits final environmental document to DEQ-Lead Division

Step IX: DEQ-Lead Division sends final environmental document and FONSI (in case of EA and if not previously prepared) to .

Environmental Assessment (EA)

Step X: SCH provides letter stating one of the following:

  • Document needs supplemental information, or
  • Document does not satisfy a FONSI, and an EIS should be prepared, or
  • Document is adequate; SEPA is complete.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Step X: After lead agency determines the EIS is adequate, SCH publishes a Record of Decision (ROD) in the NC Environmental Bulletin.

Notes: Public hearing(s) are recommended (but not required) during the draft stage of document preparation for both EA and EIS

Comments on environmental documents need to be addressed to the following:

State Clearinghouse
1302 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1302
Fax: 919-733-9571
SCH website:


  1. A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is a statement prepared by Lead Division that states proposed project will have only minimal impact on the environment. 
  2. For an EA, if no significant environmental impacts are predicted, the lead agency (or sometimes the applicant) will submit both the EA and the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) to SCH for review (either early or later in the process).