The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of a final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Organic Market Development Grants (OMDG) program. The PEA analyzes and discloses the potential environmental impacts associated with the establishment of the program.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a draft PEA and a request for public comments on Nov. 20, 2023. The agency did not receive any comments in response to this notice. Based on the analysis conducted under the draft PEA, AMS has confirmed there will not be a significant impact to the human environment. As a result, AMS will not prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
AMS intends for this PEA to establish a framework that will make any future assessments more efficient by placing project-specific actions that may need more analysis into priority tiers. As decisions on specific applications are made, if additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis is required, the agency will conduct an environmental review to supplement the analysis set forth in this PEA.
AMS announced a Request for Applications for OMDG for up to $75 million in grant funding on May 10, 2023, with applications due Aug. 8, 2023. AMS announced it had awarded $9.75 million to 10 grant projects on Jan. 17, 2024. This first set of awards did not include any physical activities subject to environmental reviews.
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