The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced June 4 the availability of a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the APHIS Feral Swine Damage Management Program.
As required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), APHIS published a draft EIS in December 2014 that examined five alternatives before the agency. Of the alternatives examined, APHIS is required by NEPA to identify the alternative — known as the "preferred alternative" — that best meets the purpose and need for the EIS. Following the close of a 45-day comment period on the draft EIS, APHIS thoroughly reviewed and analyzed the comments received.
APHIS said its preferred alternative is an integrated, multi-pronged national approach to reduce feral swine damage to agricultural, cultural, natural and property resources and human health and safety throughout the U.S. and territories.
This preferred alternative (Alternative 2) meets the agency's goals and objectives for the national program and will enable a nationally coordinated, integrated feral swine damage management program in partnership with federal, state, territorial and tribal agencies, APHIS noted. It would also provide cost-share opportunities and include a national component to emphasize research, monitoring, education and other coordinated support actions.
The final EIS will be available for public viewing for 30 days upon publication in the Federal Register before APHIS issues its Record of Decision for the final EIS.
APHIS has submitted the final EIS to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for publication of a notice of availability in the Federal Register. APHIS anticipates that EPA will publish the notice on June 12. A copy of the final EIS provided to EPA can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0031.