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National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The acronym NEPA against a blue sky with a healthy tree.
Credit: Andrew Kim/NIST/Adobe Stock

Draft Environmental Assessment for TSMC Arizona Available for Public Review and Comment 

The CHIPS Program Office (CPO) announces the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for TSMC Arizona under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for public comment. The draft EA addresses the environmental effects of providing financial incentives for the purchase and installation of semiconductor manufacturing equipment across three semiconductor fabrication facilities at the TSMC Arizona site in Phoenix, Arizona. 

CPO will be accepting comments on the draft EA through June 27, 2024. Please submit your comments via email to CHIPSNEPA [at] (CHIPSNEPA[at]chips[dot]gov) with the subject line “TSMC AZ Draft EA”. 

All comments received are a part of the public record. Personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender may be publicly accessible. Anonymous comments may be submitted.

  • To View the Full Environmental Assessment Draft, Click Here

  • To View the Appendices for the Environmental Assessment Draft, Click Here

Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment

CHIPS for America is announcing the availability of a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) for the modernization and internal expansion of existing semiconductor fabrication facilities under the CHIPS Incentives Program. The PEA addresses the environmental effects of the modernization or internal expansion of existing current-generation and mature-node commercial facilities within their existing footprint throughout the U.S.

CHIPS will be accepting comments on the Draft PEA through February 9, 2024, extended from the original deadline of January 25, 2024. Please submit your comments to CHIPSNEPA [at] (CHIPSNEPA[at]chips[dot]gov).

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). 

  • Categorical Exclusions (CE) (40 CFR 1501.4) – Categories of actions that normally do not have a significant effect on the human environment, and therefore do not require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.
  • Environmental Assessments (EA) (40 CFR 1501.5) – Shall briefly provide sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).
  • Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) (40 CFR 1502) – Shall provide full and fair discussion of significant environmental impacts and shall inform decision makers and the public of reasonable alternatives that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance the quality of the human environment. Agencies shall focus on significant environmental issues and alternatives and shall reduce paperwork and the accumulation of extraneous background data. Statements shall be concise, clear, and to the point, and shall be supported by evidence that the agency has made the necessary environmental analyses.

NEPA Process for Applicants

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 (CPO) will require extensive cooperation from applicants throughout the NEPA process.

After reviewing the application information, the CHIPS environmental team engages in discussions with the applicant to:

  • Fully understand the scope and siting of the project and obtain any missing or incomplete environmental information as required in the application
  • Identify the appropriate level of environmental review as described above (i.e., CE, EA, or EIS)
  • Identify other federal agency involvement in the project and relevant permits, consultations, and/or approvals that may be applicable (e.g., Clean Water Act - Section 404 wetland permits; Clean Air Act – Title V air emission permits; Consultations and Approvals pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, or Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act)
  • Explain that if the level of environmental review will be an EA or an EIS, CPO will notify the State NEPA Clearinghouse point of contact – as well as potentially interested, federally recognized Native American tribes of CPO federal action – and will engage with states and tribes in the NEPA process
  • Advise applicants that incomplete or insufficient information can prolong the environmental review process

NEPA Resources for CHIPS Applicants

NEPA Public Involvement

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.

Created October 6, 2023, Updated May 29, 2024