Federal Nexus

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A wide variety of federal requirements and regulations apply to federal actions. This may involve a federal funding decision, or issuance of a federal permit. When an effort falls under a federal nexus, this triggers review under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A project has a federal nexus when a federal agency must take an action on a project. Before the federal agency takes an action environmental impacts must be evaluated under NEPA. In addition, federal agencies are required to comply with the Endangered Species Act through a process of consultation with US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA. Federal agencies are also required to be consistent with State Law under Coastal Zone Management Act, particularly Water Quality regulations administered by the Washington State Department of Ecology, which are reviewed by Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act. As a consequence, a Federal Nexus results in an increase in work and oversight for any private or public actor.

Common actions that create a Federal Nexus include:

  • Federal land decision required within the project area.
  • Federal money is used on the project.
  • Federal permits or approvals are required. (From WDOT Glossary)