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Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative

Environmental & Design

Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR)

MassDOT filed a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) on April 30, 2018. The document was filed with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) as EOEEA No. 14346. The FSEIR responds to written or electronic comments on the SCR Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) (see below). In response to the Certificate on the DSEIR issued by the Secretary of the EOEEA on March 23, 2018, the FSEIR includes a Responses to Comments and updated Draft Section 61 Findings. The FSEIR is available on the Documents Page of this website and at public libraries throughout the region. The comment period on the FSEIR ended on June 8, 2018. The FSEIR is available on the Documents Page of this website and at public libraries throughout the region.

On June 15, 2018, the Secretary of the EOEEA issued a Certificate on the FSEIR. Secretary Matthew Beaton stated that the FSEIR adequately and properly complies with MEPA and its implementing regulations. The Certificate, which is now posted on the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Environmental Monitor website, reviews the project’s history and lays out requirements for Phase 1 of South Coast Rail service. As described in the FSEIR, Phase 1 service will provide a one-seat ride from Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford to Boston using the Middleborough Secondary (currently a freight line) to connect South Coast passengers with service on the existing Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail line.

The Certificate remarks on the extensive public process associated with the project and the need for MassDOT to continue its commitment to stakeholder outreach and public input as it proceeds through permitting of Phase 1 and through design and permitting of the Full Build. MassDOT remains committed to completing design and permitting of the Full Build project. The 14-page document outlines many requirements MassDOT will be required to follow during permitting and construction.

Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR)

MassDOT filed a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) on January 31, 2018, with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) unit. The document describes MassDOT's approach to providing South Coast Rail (SCR) service by extending an existing rail line. The DSEIR outlines MassDOT's phased approach to begin long-awaited commuter rail service in late 2022. You can read more information about the DSEIR in the Fact Sheet in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. The public comment period on the DSEIR ended on March 23, 2018.

MassDOT hosted two public meetings on the DSEIR. View the meeting presentations on the Materials page. The DSEIR is available on the Documents Page of this website and at public libraries throughout the region.

On March 30, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs issued a Certificate on MassDOT’s DSEIR. The Certificate states that the DSEIR “adequately and properly complies with MEPA and its implementing regulations and that there are no substantive issues that remain to be addressed through MEPA review.” The Certificate outlines the scope of a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR), which will consist of a Response to Comments and Draft Section 61 Findings. Section 61 requires agencies to avoid or minimize environmental impacts.

Environmental Process History

The US Army Corps of Engineers and MassDOT filed the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report in September 2013. The combined document satisfied state (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) and federal (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements. The FEIS/R was a more than 2,000 page in-depth analysis of the project, detailing the preferred alternative, anticipated impacts and proposed mitigation, response to comments, the public engagement process and much more.

The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs issued a Certificate on November 1, 2013. The Certificate states that the preferred alternative “emerged from a robust and detailed alternatives analysis” and notes the extensive stakeholder involvement. It requires additional technical analysis to identify wetland replication/restoration sites and develop detailed mitigation plans to address rare species.

MassDOT filed a Notice of Project Change (NPC) with MEPA in March 2017 to adopt a new phased approach to South Coast Rail service. The NPC provides an overview of proposed changes to the Project that would enable the MBTA to begin service to southeastern Massachusetts on a shorter timeline. The public comment period on the NPC ended in May 2017.

The Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs issued a Certificate on the NPC on May 26, 2017. The Certificate outlines the information MassDOT must include in a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR).

The federal process will be completed when the US Army Corps of Engineers issues a Section 404 Permit and Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD is expected to be issued after completion of the wetlands mitigation plan and the final Programmatic Agreement (PA). The PA establishes a process for reviewing cultural resource impacts and mitigation, and approving wetland mitigation plans.

Visit the Documents page for more information on the environmental process, including reports, facts sheets, and more.

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