On February 28, 2023, the CHIPS Program Office released its first funding opportunity for projects for the construction, expansion, or modernization of commercial facilities for the fabrication of leading-edge, current-generation, and mature-node semiconductors, including both front-end wafer fabrication and back-end assembly, testing, and packaging. By boosting domestic semiconductor production, CHIPS funding will cement American technological leadership, strengthen the semiconductor supply chain, and advance U.S. economic and national security. Timely satisfaction of environmental and permitting requirements, including environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), are critical to the success of the program. The CHIPS environmental team will work with applicants to ensure efficient, effective, and predictable reviews that result in informed and environmentally responsible decisions.
Learn more from the Environmental Compliance Frequently Asked Questions for applicants and prepare for your application with the Environmental Questionnaire.
The CHIPS environmental team is responsible for ensuring that Department of Commerce satisfies applicable environmental laws and requirements in connection with activities that receive funding through the CHIPS Incentives Program. The applicant is responsible for preparing environmental review documents under the supervision of the CHIPS environmental review team and obtaining any necessary permits, such as Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act permits.
The environmental team is responsible for reviewing the environmental review document prepared by the applicant, consulting with relevant federal, state, tribal, and local agencies as required or appropriate, and overseeing public involvement in the environmental review of CHIPS Incentives Program proposed actions. Where necessary and appropriate, the CHIPS environmental team will also engage in government-to-government consultation with Tribal Nations.
The following information is intended to assist applicants for the CHIPS Incentives Program to understand the environmental requirements that may be associated with their application. This information is not intended to provide legal advice or to create any legal rights. The CHIPS environmental team expects to update this information periodically.
Applicants for CHIPS Incentives may be subject to a range of federal, state, tribal, and local environmental laws and regulations, depending on the nature and location of the activities for which applicants request or receive funding.
The following is a brief summary of some of the federal laws that may apply to the CHIPS Program Office’s review of applications for CHIPS Incentives:
NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the effects of proposed actions on the human environment. Analyses and documentation prepared to comply with NEPA may include categorical exclusions (CEs), environmental assessments (EAs), or environmental impact statements (EISs).
To ensure an efficient and effective environmental review process under NEPA, applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with NEPA and ensure that their project teams have the necessary NEPA expertise, which could include hiring companies or consultants that specialize in NEPA. The CHIPS Program Office will require extensive cooperation from applicants throughout the NEPA process.
CHIPS NEPA-related documents and notices, including draft EAs and EISs posted for public comment, and notices of public meetings, will be added to this website as they become available.
Additional information on NEPA can be found at nepa.gov.
The NHPA requires federal agencies to assess the effects of proposed actions on historic properties, which can include archeological and historical resources, and sites of religious and cultural significance to tribes. This can include consultation with state and tribal historic preservation officers to determine if an action will adversely affect any historic properties. Additional information on the NHPA can be found on the website of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, at https://www.achp.gov/digital-library-section-106-landing/national-historic-preservation-act.
The ESA requires federal agencies to assess the impact of proposed actions on federally listed threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat. This can include consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service if endangered species will be affected by a project. Additional information on the ESA can be found at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/ESAall.pdf and https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/.