What is Scoping?
Scoping is the gathering and analysis of information that a state agency will use to establish the breadth, or scope, of environmental review of a proposed project.
When a Connecticut state agency decides it might launch a project -- a new building or road, for example -- it notifies other agencies and the public through a Scoping Notice. All Scoping Notices are published in the Environmental Monitor. This occurs well before the agency conducts its environmental review or decides on a course of action. At the scoping stage, the agency proposing the project -- the "sponsoring agency" -- has little information to provide to the public. The agency describes the preliminary concept of the project, and asks for feedback. Other state agencies and the public are asked to submit information that will help the sponsoring agency to:
- Identify alternatives to the proposed project that would fulfill the project's stated purpose and need. These might include alternate locations for the project, or different strategies (such as rebuilding an existing structure instead of building a new one).
- Identify specific aspects of the environment that need to be analyzed. Individual citizens might have unique knowledge of a property and its resources (such as wildlife or historical significance).
The public can submit scoping comments in writing to the contact person listed in the Scoping Notice in the Environmental Monitor by the date indicated. If the sponsoring agency holds a Public Scoping Meeting, people will have the opportunity to offer oral comments. The sponsoring agency is required to consider all of the comments it receives from other agencies and the public.
If the sponsoring agency decides to go forward with the project, the next step is either preparation of an EIE or posting of a Post-Scoping Notice in the Environmental Monitor that explains the agency's determination that no EIE is needed. The public will have an opportunity to comment on an EIE but will not have an opportunity to comment if the sponsoring agency elects to publish a Post-Scoping Notice.