A. It is the policy of the Department of Transportation that the Department, and each of its administrations, agencies, boards, commissions, and other units, conduct its affairs with an awareness of its responsibility for the protection of the environment for the present and future. The Maryland Environmental Policy Act (Act), Chapter 703 of the Laws of 1973, as codified in §§1-3011-305, Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, mandates that State agencies, in balancing economic development and environmental quality, shall engage in thoughtful consideration of the environmental effects of their proposed actions, including: ecological, socio-economic, developmental, recreational, historic, architectural, aesthetic, and other values. Environmental assessment forms (EAF) and environmental effects reports (EER), as defined in the guidelines of the Department of Natural Resources adopted pursuant to the Act, will be utilized by the Department to accomplish this purpose, as well as to purpose, as well as to increase public participation in the planning of Departmental projects and to provide the General Assembly with additional social, economic, and natural environmental information to assist it in deciding upon legislative appropriations for projects in the annual capital budget.
B. The requirements of the Act are consistent with and, in many respects, covered by the Maryland Action Plan adopted by the Department as COMAR 11.01.06 to document departmental policy for the planning and development of all transportation improvements.