Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Environmental Review

NEPA and Public Involvement


Public involvement is required during the environmental review process, to different degrees depending on the NEPA class of action document. MnDOT also conducts additional public engagement efforts per guidance under TPDP Public Engagement.

  • EIS (Class I) – Provides the highest degree of public involvement requirements, requiring early and continuous opportunities for public and stakeholder review and comment. Prior to concluding an EIS, MnDOT and FHWA must consult with and obtain the comments of any Federal agency with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with the impacted resources, provide copies to Federal, State and local agencies and the public, notify the public of the document availability for review and comment and hold a public hearing.
  • EA (Class III) - The EA does not need to be circulated for public comment, but the document must be made available for public inspection at a MnDOT office and at the appropriate FHWA field offices for 30 days. Additional requirements include placing a notice in a local newspaper. A public hearing may or may not be necessary, discuss this with OES and FHWA.
  • CatEx (Class II) – coordinate with OES to determine the level of public involvement necessary under NEPA.
The Environmental Review Process occurs at the same time as Public and Stakeholder Engagement. The process begins with Kickoff, then Purpose and Need, then Develop Conceptual Alignments. During these steps, the process also includes Define framework for scope. The next steps include Preliminary Layouts, Alternatives Evaluation, Select Preferred Alternative, and Select Alternative. The final steps include State and Federal Environmental Documentation, Decision Document, and finally Environmental Documentation.

Environmental Review Process

When to use this subject

Public involvement is required to some degree for all NEPA actions. See specific guidance for Class I, II, and III actions to determine public involvement requirements. Coordination with OES and FHWA will be needed for Class I and III actions, at a minimum.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

This guidance applies to the NEPA process. Additional public involvement may be required under different laws such as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (refer to 36 CFR Part 800.2) and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (refer to 23 CFR 774.5(B)(2)(i)).

Public hearings

Organizations involved

  • MnDOT:
    • Office of Environmental Stewardship
    • Office of Communications and Public Engagement
    • District Engineer
    • Project Manager
    • District Design
    • District Environmental Reviewers
    • CO State Aid (required only if local agency is involved and using federal aid funds)
  • FHWA Minnesota Division
  • Municipalities and counties
  • Public and stakeholders