Source: STANDARD HANDBOOK OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING

CHAPTER 10

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Lloyd V. Urban, Ph.D., P .E. R. K. Jain, Ph.D., P .E.

During the decision-making process and development of a project, the environmental engineer should incorporate considerations of the proposed actions on the total environment: air, water, and land. Also, the primary and secondary impacts on neighbors and the general public are important. In the United States, the National Environmental Policy Act (1) and subsequent regulations form the basis for environmental assessments (EAs) and environmental impact statements (EISs). An overview of the first twenty-five years of these regulations is included in this chapter. The environmental assessment process documents the awareness of the owner, designer, and public of the potential impacts resulting from the construction any new, modified, or expanded facilities. The documentation is concise, and the degree of detail varies with the size and location of the project. The outcome of the EA process will be a regulatory agency finding of no significant impact or a requirement for an EIS. An environmental impact statement documents in great detail real and potential direct and secondary impacts of the proposed project. Alternative evaluations and mitigation actions may be included. Public participation is key in the EA/EIS process.*

LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS
The environmental assessment process is couched in federal law, with auxiliary requirements evolved through executive orders, regulations, agency response, state legal requirements, and other legal mechanisms. The principal federal legislation is the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (PL 91-190), typically referred to as NEPA (see Figure 10.1). When compared with most environmental legislation, NEPA has four distinguishing features (3). 1. NEPA is a policy act setting a course for public action and is not a regulatory statute. 2. NEPA’s goals and principles are not self-enforcing but require action by Congress and the President. Observance of the policy intent is mandated by the environmental impact statement and is enforceable through the courts. 3. NEPA is integrative, crossing and affecting a broad range of public issues—economic, demographic, ecological, aesthetic, and ethical. 4. NEPA is oriented toward the future by recognizing the worldwide and long-range character of environmental problems.
*Material for portions of this chapter has been drawn from Ref. 2. 10.1 Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.2
CHAPTER TEN

PURPOSE Sec. 2. The purposes of this Act are: to declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality. Title I Declaration of National Environmental Policy Sec. 101. (a) The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural environment, particularly the profound influences of population growth, high-density urbanization, industrial expansion, resource exploitation, and new and expanding technological advances and recognizing further the critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans. (b) In order to carry out the policy set forth in this Act, it is the continuing responsibility of the Federal Government to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, to improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs, and resources to the end that the Nation may— (1) fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations; (2) assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, and esthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings; (3) attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences; (4) preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage, and maintain, wherever possible, an environment which supports diversity and variety of individual choice; (5) achieve a balance between population and resource use which will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing of life’s amenities; and (6) enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources. (c) The Congress recognizes that each person should enjoy a healthful environment and that each person has a responsibility to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the environment. Sec. 102. The Congress authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible: (1) the policies, regulations, and public laws of the United States shall be interpreted and administrated in accordance with the policies set forth in this Act, and (2) all agencies of the Federal Government shall—
FIGURE 10.1 The National Environmental Policy Act—Public Law 91-190 (as amended by PL 94-83).

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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

10.3

(A) utilize a systematic, interdisciplinary approach which will ensure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts in planning and in decision making which may have an impact on man’s environment; (B) identify and develop methods and procedures, in consultation with the Council on Environmental Quality established by title II of this Act, which will ensure that presently unquantified environmental amenities and values may be given appropriate consideration in decision-making along with economic and technical considerations; (C) include in every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, a detailed statement by the responsible official on— (i) the environmental impact of the proposed action, (ii) any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, (iii) alternatives to the proposed action, (iv) the relationship between local short-term uses of man’s environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, and (v) any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented. Prior to making any detailed statement, the responsible Federal official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any Federal agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved. Copies of such statement and the comments and views of the appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, which are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards, shall be made available to the President, the Council on Environmental Quality and to the public as provided by section 552 of title 5, United States Code, and shall accompany the proposal through the existing agency review processes. (D) Any detailed statement required under subparagraph (C) after January 1, 1970, for any major Federal action funded under a program of grants to States shall not be deemed to be legally insufficient solely by reason of having been prepared by a State agency or official, if: (i) the State agency official has statewide jurisdiction and has the responsibility for such action, (ii) the responsible Federal official furnishes guidance and participates in such preparation. (iii) the responsible Federal official independently evaluates such statement prior to its approval and adoption, and (iv) after January 1,1976, the responsible Federal official provides early notification to, and solicits the views of, any other State or any Federal land management entity of any action or any alternative thereto which may have significant impacts upon such State or affected Federal land management entity and, if there is any disagreement on such impacts, prepared a written assessment of such impacts and views for incorporation into such detailed statement. The procedures in this subparagraph shall not relieve the Federal official of his responsibilities for the scope, objectivity, and content of the entire statement or of any other responsibility under this Act; and further, this subparagraph does not affect the legal sufficiency of statements prepared by State agencies with less than statewide jurisdiction. (E) study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources;
FIGURE 10.1 The National Environmental Policy Act—Public Law 91-190 (as amended by PL 94-83) (continued).

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by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. development and utilization of natural resources. range. the State and local governments. and nongovernmental entities or individuals. and procedures set forth in this Act. . (H) initiate and utilize ecological information in the planning and development of resource-oriented projects. Sec. (4) a review of the programs and activities (including regulatory activities) of the Federal Government. 105. an Environmental Quality Report (hereinafter referred to as the “report”) which shall set forth (1) the status and condition of the major natural. The President shall designate one of the members of the Council to serve as Chairman.4 CHAPTER TEN (F) recognize the worldwide and long-range character of environmental problems and. 202. suburban. (2) to coordinate or consult with any other Federal or State agency. or refrain from acting contingent upon the recommendations or certification of any other Federal or State agency. and fresh water. or altered environmental classes of the Nation. (2) current and foreseeable trends in the quality management and utilization of such environments and the effects of those trends on the social. where consistent with the foreign policy of the United States. economic. the air. The policies and goals set forth in this Act are supplementary to those set forth in existing authorizations of Federal agencies. Sec. advice and information useful in restoring. estuarine. including. lend appropriate support to initiatives. 103. manmade. 1970. urban. and rural environment. 201. and current policies and procedures for the purpose of determining whether there are any deficiencies or inconsistencies therein which prohibit full compliance with the purposes and provisions of this Act and shall propose to the President not later than July 1. and the terrestrial environment. including. There is created in the Executive Office of the President a Council on Environmental Quality (hereinafter referred to as the “Council”). (G) make available to States. and individuals. All agencies of the Federal Government shall review their present statutory authority. experience. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. 1971. but not limited to. maintaining and enhancing the quality of the environment. including marine. wetland. Each member shall be a person who as a result of his training. The President shall transmit to the Congress annually beginning July 1. institutions. 104. and (I) assist the Council on Environmental Quality established by title II of this Act. and (5) a program for remedying the deficiencies of existing programs and activities. and other requirements of the Nation. The Council shall be composed of three members who shall be appointed by the President to serve at his pleasure. such measures as may be necessary to bring their authority and policies into conformity with the intent. to appraise programs and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the policy set forth in Title I of this Act. (3) the adequacy of available natural resources for fulfilling human and economic requirements of the Nation in the light of expected population pressures.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. with particular reference to their effect on the environment and on the conservation. counties. Nothing in Section 102 or 103 shall in any way affect the specific statutory obligations of any Federal agency (1) to comply with criteria or standards of environmental quality. Title II Council on Environmental Quality Sec. to be conscious of and responsive to FIGURE 10. is exceptionally well qualified to analyze and interpret environmental trends and information of all kinds. and attainments. resolutions.1 The National Environmental Policy Act—Public Law 91-190 (as amended by PL 94-83) (continued). together with recommendations for legislation.digitalengineeringlibrary. the aquatic. All rights reserved. and programs designed to maximize international cooperation in anticipating and preventing a decline in the quality of mankind’s world environment. municipalities. or (3) to act. the forest dryland. but not limited to. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. purposes. Sec. administrative regulations. Sec.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.

State and local governments. and duties under this Act. 204. (4) to develop and recommend to the President national policies to foster and promote the improvement of environmental quality to meet the conservation. and to formulate and recommend national policies to promote the improvement of the quality of the environment. and to compile and submit to the President studies relating to such conditions and trends. 205. and (2) utilize.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. in accordance with section 3109 of title 5. the Council may employ and fix the compensation of such experts and consultants as may be necessary for the carrying out of its functions under this Act. Sec. In addition.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. The Council may employ such officers and employees as may be necessary to carry out its functions under this Act.000. health. and with such representatives of science. Members of the Council shall serve full time and the Chairman of the Council shall be compensated at the rate provided for Level II of the Executive Schedule Pay Rates (5 U.000 for fiscal year 1970. (6) to document and define changes in the natural environment. or are likely to interfere. FIGURE 10. 206.1 The National Environmental Policy Act—Public Law 91-190 (as amended by PL 94-83) (continued). United States Code (but without regard to the last sentence thereof). 203. and to accumulate necessary data and other information for a continuing analysis of these changes or trends and an interpretation of their underlying causes. with the achievement of the policy set forth in title I of this Act. dated May 29. conservation organizations. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. and other requirements and goals of the Nation. The other members of the Council shall be compensated at the rate provided for Level IV of the Executive Schedule Pay Rates (5 U. 5313). In exercising its powers. and recommendations with respect to matters of policy and legislation as the President may request. social. and analyses relating to ecological systems and environmental quality.C.digitalengineeringlibrary. social.C.S. research. to the fullest extent possible. labor. There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the provisions of this Act not to exceed $300. and individuals in order that duplication of effort and expense may be avoided. (7) to report at least once each year to the President on the state and condition of the environment. agriculture. industry. Sec. (5) to conduct investigations.000 for fiscal year 1971. $700. Sec. surveys. and (8) to make and furnish such studies. Sec. the Council shall— (1) consult with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality established by Executive Order numbered 11472. facilities. thus assuring that the Council’s activities will not unnecessarily overlap or conflict with similar activities authorized by law and performed by established agencies. reports thereon. functions. (2) to gather timely and authoritative information concerning the conditions and trends in the quality of the environment both current and prospective. the services. economic. studies. . and to make recommendations to the President with respect thereto. and $1. Sec. and cultural needs and interests of the Nation. esthetic. 207.5 the scientific.000 for each fiscal year thereafter.S. All rights reserved. to analyze and interpret such information for the purpose of determining whether such conditions and trends are interfering. and other groups as it deems advisable. 5315). and information (including statistical information) of public and private agencies and organizations. including the plant and animal systems. 1969. It shall be the duty and function of the Council— (1) to assist and advise the President in the preparation of the Environmental Quality Report required by section 201. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. economic. (3) to review and appraise the various programs and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the policy set forth in title I of this Act for the purpose of determining the extent to which such programs and activities are contributing to the achievement of such policy.

provisions of NEPA were designed to create a vehicle for considering environmental amenities consistent with other national needs. such as economic development. the proponent agency is required to file a formal environmental impact statement (EIS) (1).6 CHAPTER TEN National Environmental Policy Act The enactment of NEPA added a new dimension to the planning and decision-making process of federal and state agencies in the United States. This systematic procedure is called the environmental assessment process. NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of implementing their major programs and actions as early in the planning process as possible and. . and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality (1).ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Section 102 requirements are of a procedural nature. The first requirement is found in Section 102(2)(A). Purpose. in a systematic manner. Declaration of National Environmental Policy. In order to incorporate environmental concerns into the decision-making process. and it is documented as an environmental assessment or an impact statement. the environmental impact analysis of major undertakings is a logical first step. and public laws shall be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies of NEPA. identify and develop procedures and methods such that “presently unquantified environmental amenities and values may be given appropriate consideration in decision-making” along with traditional economic and technical considerations. All rights reserved. Title I. to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation. The main purposes of this legislation. prior to the undertaking of the project or the action (1). This environmental assessment process (also referred to as the “NEPA process”) has had a profound effect on the way major projects with significant federal agency involvement are planned and implemented. are To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment. and Title II. Title I sets forth the national policy on restoration and protection of environmental quality. Section 102. There are two titles under the Act: Title I. and environmental sciences in planning and decision making. properly accounted for. and are not. regulations. Under this section. In Section 102(1). to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man. where it is required that “a systematic and interdisciplinary approach” be used to ensure the integrated use of social. these environmental concerns cannot be.digitalengineeringlibrary. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). in all cases. This section requires all federal agencies to include in every recommendation or report on legislative Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. The relevant sections under this title are summarized as follows: Section 101. natural. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. For those projects or actions that are either expected to have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment or are expected to be controversial on environmental grounds. the proponent federal agency is required to make a full and adequate analysis of all environmental effects of implementing its programs or actions. Section 102(2)(C) sets forth the requirements and guidelines for preparing environmental impact statements. In the normal market exchange of goods and services. as set forth in the act. in consultation with CEQ. Under this section. in the United States.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Congress directs that policies. Consequently. the federal government has a continuing responsibility “consistent with other essential considerations of national policy to minimize adverse environmental impact and to preserve and enhance the environment as a result of implementing federal plans and programs. Section 102(2)(B) states that federal agencies shall. Section 102(2) directs all federal agencies to follow a series of steps to ensure that the goals of the act will be met. Requirements of Section 101 are of a substantive nature.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Section 103. (4) a review of the effect of governmental and nongovernmental activities on the environment and natural resources. . This section requires all federal agencies to review their regulations and procedures “for the purpose of determining whether there are any deficiencies or inconsistencies therein which prohibit full compliance with the purposes and provisions of this Act and [they] shall propose to the President . and (5) a program for remedying the deficiencies and recommending appropriate legislation. Any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented Specific EIS format. 3. or altered environmental classes of the nation.” Title II. a detailed statement by the responsible official covering the following elements: 1. The environmental impact of the proposed actions Any adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented The alternatives to the proposed action The relationship between local short-term uses of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity 5. the President is required to submit to the Congress an annual “Environmental Quality Report. 2. such measures as may be necessary to bring their authority and policies into conformity with . However. management. The CEQ is composed of three members who are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. professional scientists. . Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.7 proposals and other major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Conduct research and investigations related to ecological systems and environmental quality 6.digitalengineeringlibrary.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. although CEQ does not have any regulatory or policing responsibilities. as set forth under Title I of NEPA 4. analyze. . All rights reserved. information concerning the conditions and trends in the quality of the environment. on a timely basis. Gather. Persons preparing an EIS should follow the instructions of the appropriate organization. 4. In addition. it is highly influential in its advisory capacity. this Act. (3) the adequacy of available natural resources. Report at least once a year to the President on the state and condition of the environment 8. Accumulate necessary data and other information for a continuing analysis of changes in the national environment and interpretation of the underlying causes 7. man-made. The President designates one of the members of the CEQ to serve as chairman. the CEQ employs environmental lawyers. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.” This yearly summary sets forth: (1) the status and condition of the major natural. In addition. coordination. Review and appraise the various programs and activities of the federal government in light of the policy of environmental protection and enhancement. Title II establishes the CEQ as an environmental advisory body for the executive office. and other employees to carry out its functions as required under NEPA. . and utilization of such environments and socioeconomic impacts of these trends. . Duties and functions of CEQ may be summarized as follows: 1. (2) current and foreseeable trends in the quality. and instructions for approval and review hierarchy are established by CEQ regulations (4) and each federal agency. and interpret. Develop and recommend to the President national policies to foster and promote improvement of environmental quality to meet many goals of the nation 5. Assist and advise the President in the preparation of the Environmental Quality Report as required by NEPA 2. Conduct such studies and furnish such reports and recommendations as the President may request A significant feature to note is that both the charter assigned and the responsibilities delegated to CEQ are quite extensive. both current and prospective 3.

5. 2. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. the council issued guidelines for the preparation of EISs under Executive Order 11514 (1970). State the name and address of the person within the agency who can answer questions about the proposed action and the EIS Environmental Assessment. most importantly. This notice is published in the Federal Register. Notice of intent Environmental assessment Draft environmental impact statement Final environmental impact statement Finding of no significant impact Record of decision This section will identify each of these documents and discuss briefly the differences among them. and all timing for document processing is tied to this publication date.digitalengineeringlibrary. . These regulations are designed to ensure that the action-forcing procedures of Section 102(2) of NEPA are used by agencies to fulfill the requirement of the congressionally mandated policy set forth in Section 101 of the act. These documents include the following (3): 1. reduction of delays. This refers to a notice that an EIS will be prepared and considered. Also. and where any scoping meeting will be held 3. 6. An environmental assessment is also referred to as an environmental impact assessment or EIA. in order to emphasize the need to focus on real environmental issues and alternatives. including whether. 4. 1979. Describe the proposed action and possible alternatives 2. the regulations became effective on July 30. All rights reserved. and misapplication. the 1973 revised guidelines were in effect. In 1970. Until recently. Since these regulations are applied uniformly to all federal agencies. 3. the President directed that the regulations should be (5): Designed to make the Environmental Impact Statement process more useful to decision-makers and the public and to reduce paperwork and the accumulation of extraneous background data. Notice of Intent. this will minimize misinterpretation. The new regulations were developed to achieve three principal goals: reduction of paperwork. Various documents required to comply with the NEPA process and CEQ regulations are described herein. the CEQ is responsible for overseeing federal efforts to comply with NEPA.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies.8 CHAPTER TEN CEQ REGULATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS In the United States. This notice shall briefly 1. production of better decisions which further the national policy to protect and enhance the quality of the human environment. This is a concise public document prepared by a federal agency that serves to Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. But under Executive Order 11991. redundancy. Issued in 1977. In the executive order. the President directed the CEQ to issue regulations to supersede the 1973 guidelines. Environmental Documents The CEQ regulations require that a number of environmental documents be prepared during the project planning and development process.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Describe the agency’s proposed scoping process. when. and. time required to learn these regulations and review these documents will be minimized.

It should include either the environmental assessment or its summary and other related environmental documents. The DEIS undergoes a formal review process outlined by CEQ regulations.2 EA/EIS and FONSI relationship. In the long run.2. and appendix may be eliminated. not otherwise excluded. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Draft Environmental Impact Statement. and the level of detail required is less than that of the EIS. would not be prepared. is prepared by a federal agency and briefly presents the reasons why an action. Final Environmental Impact Statement. All rights reserved. FIGURE 10. The final EIS is a detailed written statement as required by Section 102(2)(C) of NEPA.digitalengineeringlibrary. The draft EIS (DEIS) is a detailed written statement required by Section 102(2)(C) of NEPA. Its format is similar to that of an EIS. therefore. Provide sufficient analysis for determining whether an EIS or a “finding of no significant impact” is needed 2. it would be desirable to use the same general format for an EIA as is used for an EIS. This document. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Aid in the agency’s compliance with the NEPA when no EIS is necessary 3. The relationship between the documents discussed in the preceding sections is described in Figure 10. except that its summary.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Finding of No Significant Impact.9 1. lists of preparers. . referred to as a FONSI. and it incorporates the results of a formal review of the draft EIS. will not have a significant effect on the human environment and for which an EIS. Facilitate preparation of an EIS when one is necessary.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.

3. Cover Sheet. A general outline for this section is given in Figure 10. In fact. Section 7). Extra effort in organizing a table of contents can help the reviewers of the document considerably. if appropriate.3. Lists of figures and tables with appropriate page numbers can also be included. areas of controversy (including issues raised by agencies and the public). If some practicable mitigation techniques were not included. Table of Contents.digitalengineeringlibrary. At the time of its decision or. and the issues to be resolved (including the choice among alternatives). Some information for this section may have to be prepared after other sections are completed (for example. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. CEQ considers this section to be the heart of the ElS. All rights reserved. the agency should state how much these considerations entered into the decision-making process. scientific notation. including any other essential considerations of national policy that were balanced by the agency in making its decision. it is suggested that the EIS format be used for organizing the summary. 2.4. The ElS should contain a brief description of the need or requirement to which this action is responding.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. many readers reviewing or analyzing the document have difficulty with these abbreviations and symbols because they are not familiar with them. Purpose and Need. . EIS Format and Content The CEQ has provided a streamlined standard format for all agencies to follow unless the agency has determined that there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. This record may be integrated into any other documentation that is prepared by the agency for a similar purpose. The summary should stress major conclusions. An agency may discuss preferences among alternatives based on factors related to economic and technical considerations and to agency statutory missions. All headings and subheadings should be identified with the appropriate page numbers. Identification of all alternatives considered by the agency in reaching its decision.10 CHAPTER TEN Record of Decision. The purpose or objective for the action should relate directly to the need or requirement discussed. its recommendation to Congress. This record should include 1. An outline for the CEQ-prescribed EIS format and content is provided in Figure 10. It is suggested that these items be listed and defined as an inclusion in the table of contents section. A statement of what practicable means to mitigate environmental damage under the selected alternatives were included in the implementation of the action. Alternatives. A statement of what the decision was. the reasons for their exclusion should be stated. it might be desirable to cover these topics as distinct subsections of the summary.3. While it is common practice to define each abbreviation. The cover sheet should not exceed one page. including specification of alternatives that were considered environmentally preferable. Including the Proposed Action. In describing the various alternatives consid- Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. An example cover sheet is also included in Figure 10. and the preparers may have to work on more than one section at a time and make changes as different sections are analyzed and completed. The agency should identify and discuss all such factors. or Greek symbol used for the first time in the text. each agency should prepare a concise public record of decision. The following discussion outlines the content of each section. Information required for the cover sheet is outlined in Figure 10. many parts of the EIS are interdependent. A monitoring and enforcement program designed to carry out the mitigation techniques identified should be summarized. Each EIS is required to contain a summary that adequately and accurately summarizes the statement. Summary. 3. In order to stress and highlight these points.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. NTE 150 pages. PURPOSE OF AND NEED FOR THE ACTION (sec 4–7. (NTE = not to exceed) TABLE OF CONTENTS (suggest NTE 6 pages). AND PERSONS TO WHOM COPIES SENT APPENDIX INDEX FIGURE 10. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. 300 in special cases).11 COVER SHEET SUMMARY (NTE 15 pages).digitalengineeringlibrary. ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION alternatives not under lead agency AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES Native American LIST OF PREPARERS (NTE 2 pages). All rights reserved. AGENCIES.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. .3 Outline for CEQ-prescribed EIS content. ORGANIZATIONS. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

there might be some difficulty in providing sufficient detail regarding an alternative which is not under the jurisdiction of the lead agency decision maker. but not explored vigorously. environmental consequences of alternatives considered should be displayed in a comparative form.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. ered. Since those alternatives which are considered by the decision maker are supposed to be included in the EIS. the alternative of “no action” is specifically required to be analyzed. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. From the information developed in Section 7 (Environmental Consequences). . All rights reserved. there are many alternatives which are considered initially.12 CHAPTER TEN FIGURE 10. Reasons for eliminating such alternatives must be included. all alternatives not under lead agency jurisdiction should also be discussed.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Usually. The purpose of this display is Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.4 Example EIS cover sheet. Also.

Means to mitigate adverse environmental impacts can be included here. For the implementation of these regulations. This section should not duplicate the discussion included in the alternative section. Particularly for lengthy or complex statements. a plan and a framework for including these measures in the actual project or action must be developed. or the baseline. consequently. and Persons to Whom Copies Are Sent. indirect. This list of preparers will 1. it would be desirable to include this information here. Increase the accountability and professional responsibility of those who were. interdisciplinary approach was used in preparing the EIS 2. persons responsible for a particular analysis or section of the EIS should be so identified. relationships between short-term uses of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Since the indexing process can become a quite extensive undertaking. . it would seem appropriate to include mitigation measures only for preferred alternatives. and cultural environments. Names and qualifications (expertise. the CEQ has emphasized in its new regulations that this information be consolidated and. The list may serve as a check for both preparers and reviewers in determining the range and adequacy of assessment coordination and solicitation of comments. The agency can identify the preferred alternative or alternatives in this section unless another law prohibits the agency from expressing such a preference. Also. Environmental consequences resulting from the proposed action may be organized as shown in the outline (Figure 10. Where possible. List of Preparers. Give due credit to and enhance the professional standing of the preparers Agencies. experience. Environmental consequences or impacts to be considered should include direct. The affected environment. should be described succinctly. Environmental Consequences. Since the CEQ considers this section to be the heart of the EIS. Index. and the information included should be relevant to the impacts discussed. In the past. other documents referenced in order to minimize EIS bulk. an index may facilitate the review and evaluation process. and induced impacts in the biological. for mitigation measures to have any meaning. professional disciplines) of persons who were primarily responsible for preparing the EIS or developing background papers or basic analysis components of the EIS should be included. This section is what is commonly referred to as the environmental baseline. All rights reserved. It is important to note that the baseline is not necessarily static. The discussion should include adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided. the CEQ has required an analysis that should show how alternatives were considered and whether decisions based on these alternatives will or will not achieve the requirements of Sections 101 and 102(1) of NEPA and of other environmental laws and policies. Any mitigation measures not fully covered in the discussion of alternatives may be further described here. if necessary. This section forms the scientific and analytic basis for the comparison of alternatives included in the alternatives section. Affected Environment. physical.digitalengineeringlibrary.3). however. economic. in fact. social.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. A summary of this information on mitigation measures must be included in the record of decision. responsible for preparing any part of the EIS 3.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.13 to sharply define the issues involved and to provide a clear basis for choosing among alternatives. and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved should the action be implemented. The agency and public decision makers can quickly compare and analyze the alternatives from this comparative display. Organizations. many EISs were prepared using verbose descriptions of the baseline. many preparers choose to omit this section in favor of expanded depth in the table of contents. Provide a basis for evaluating whether a systematic.

An EA is an “intermediate” document. Any material that is generally available in another document can be referenced and need not be included in the EIS. The EA or a summary is included in the FONSI. Draft ElS. they are transmitted to commenting agencies and made available to the public.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. D. Among other things. All rights reserved. agencies are required to provide their comments within the time period specified in the regulations. then a FONSI results and the EA presents the substantiating evidence to support that conclusion. The old guidelines required that the EIS document be an independent. (Exception: When there is a lengthy period between the agency’s decision to prepare an EIS and the time of actual preparation. If it is determined that no statement is required. through a system of clearinghouses. the appendix may be circulated with the EIS or be made available upon request. Also.digitalengineeringlibrary. If a statement is required. the agency should obtain comments from the following groups: Federal agencies that have jurisdiction by law or special expertise State and local agencies authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards Native American tribes. 401 M Street SW. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-95. It is often necessary to perform extensive computations to determine some impacts. This document should be published in the Federal Register “as soon as practicable” after the decision to prepare an EIS and before the scoping process. Processing Environmental Documents After an environmental document has been prepared. if the federal agency is issuing a lease. The EPA will publish a notice of this filing in the Federal Register and will review the document as described in a later section of this chapter. The agency should take advantage of this input and make the Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. or entitlement Public and conservation groups affected by or interested in the action Federal agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved are required to comment on the draft EIS.) Environmental Assessment. thus satisfying the requirement of availability to the President. A federal agency or a cooperating agency may reply that it has no comment. General processing requirements are outlined as follows. The sequence of processing activities for draft and final EIS documents is shown in Figure 10. At the same time. Washington. when the action affects them or their reservations Any agency that has requested the draft EIS The applicant. In order to reduce unnecessary delays. It would be appropriate to include such analytic computations and the scientific basis for the computation in the appendix. provides a means of securing the views of state and local environmental agencies. license. Only the material that is prepared in support of the EIS and material substantiating analysis in the main body of the EIS should be included. .C. 20406). EPA shall deliver one copy of each statement to the CEQ. the CEQ regulations differ in this regard from the old guidelines. the notice may be published at a “reasonable time” in advance of draft DEIS preparations. the EA forms the basis for structuring the EIS. After preparing a draft EIS and before preparing the final EIS. Draft statements shall be filed with the EPA (Attention: Office of Federal Activities [A-104]. permit. Notice of Intent. Final EIS. The appendix should not become a dumping ground for inclusion of irrelevant or unnecessary paperwork.14 CHAPTER TEN Appendix.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. The agency preparing the final EIS should assess and consider comments received on the draft statement both individually and collectively. and not require undue reference to other documents. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.5. complete document. processing depends on the type of document and on specific agency requirements.

be filed with the EPA. All rights reserved. The CEQ regulations require that the final EIS. Finding of No Significant Impact. When the comments do not warrant further agency response.digitalengineeringlibrary. which the agency may cover in its NEPA procedures. an explanation should be provided. If changes in response to the comments are minor.and areawide clearinghouses) for 30 days before the action begins. there may be no need to rewrite the draft EIS. along with this supplement prepared in response to the comments received. The ElS should be made available to commenting agencies and the public at the same time it is filed with the EPA (see Figure 10. responses. instead. Voluminous comments may be summarized. D. the EPA again will deliver one copy of the statement to the CEQ. To comply with the requirements of making the EIS available to the President. the draft EIS. The agency should make this document available to the affected public upon request.15 agencies FIGURE 10. would constitute the final EIS.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.5 EIS processing. the agency should make this document available for public review (including state. only the comments. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. All substantive comments received on the draft EIS should be attached to the final EIS. or summaries thereof. In other words. In certain limited circumstances.4). in Washington. and changes made need to be circulated. . Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. necessary changes.C. Office of Federal Activities. together with comments and responses.

into which input by federal. This means that the period for appeal of the decision and the 30-day period required for the EIS process may be concurrent. Ordinarily. processing.digitalengineeringlibrary. a minimum of 45 days must be provided for comments by other agencies and the public. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Presented in the CEQ regulations are many administrative techniques that federal agencies can use to obtain such participation (3). This is followed by the “scoping process. including that required by OMB Circular A-95 (Revised). Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. state. and Part II. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CEQ regulations state that agencies should make diligent efforts to involve the public in preparing and implementing their NEPA procedures. The EPA may reduce the prescribed time periods at the request of the lead agency due to compelling reasons of national policy. Section 5(b)(4). state. notice should include publication in the Federal Register and notice by mail to national organizations reasonably expected to be interested in the action. Specific documentation. No decision on the proposed action should be made or recorded by a federal agency except as follows: 1. All rights reserved. Timing of Agency Action Each week. The council encourages federal agencies to use innovative techniques beyond the public hearing process to provide for effective public participation early in the planning stages of federal projects and actions.16 CHAPTER TEN Record of Decision. the EPA will publish a notice in the Federal Register of the EISs filed during the preceding week. in cases of actions having effects that are primarily of local concern.and areawide clearinghouses. Ninety days after publication of the notice for a draft EIS.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. as described in OMB Circular A-95. no action concerning the proposed action may be taken that would have an adverse environmental impact or limit the choice of reasonable alternatives. Also. 4. However. The notice of intent required in the CEQ regulations serves as an early warning or early notice system for informing the public of upcoming federal actions to which they may want to provide input. There are some other restrictions as well. can be used. The minimum 90 days required between the draft EIS and the final action (or recording of the decision) and the 30-day waiting period after the EIS may be concurrent. there is an exception for those rulemaking actions where an agency may announce a preliminary decision at the same time an EIS is filed. However. in the case of an action with effects of national concern. The minimum time periods set forth by the CEQ should be calculated from the date of publication of this notice. Thirty days after publication of the notice for a final EIS. until an agency issues a record of decision. An agency engaged in rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act or other statute for the purpose of protecting the public health or safety may waive this 30-day period. The EPA is required to notify CEQ of any such extension or reduction of the time periods. The lead agency may extend these prescribed time periods.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. but the record of decision must be made available to the public. . This document may be integrated into any other record prepared by the agency. 3.” which takes place early in the planning stages. 2. the EPA may extend the time periods at the request of other federal agencies (other than the lead agency) in consultation with the lead agency. For example. Part I. and these are further described in the CEQ regulations. The extent of public involvement would naturally depend on the scope of the project. and other follow-up procedures may vary. Section 6(c) and (d). In such cases there must be a real opportunity to alter the decision.

This definition means that techniques that allow only one-way communication. In addition. significance of the project to the public. several important requirements should be met to attain effective public participation. . and potential for environmental impacts. public information techniques include 1. There is often considerable misinformation about the nature of most proposed projects.digitalengineeringlibrary. and is able to implement its jointly articulated objectives (2). Allowing or encouraging community involvement in problem identification and discussion. for community participation to be effective. Mailings to individuals or groups 3. comments are specifically solicited by the federal agencies on a draft EIS. A wide range of techniques contain some or all of the characteristics necessary for a public participation program. This input assists in determining the scope of significant issues to be addressed in the EIS. are not very useful.17 and local agencies and other interested persons can be provided. the community members must have access to the decision process. the public should have easy access to all project-related information. advertisements. and the decisions must reflect the joint objectives of the agency and the community. even when the withholding of information is not practiced deliberately. All rights reserved. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. News releases. it must allow for citizens to become involved in decision making. however. equal access to decision-making institutions. Implementation powers Various types of communication exchange provide the elements of an effective program. Newspaper articles may. Based on this definition. In the study initiation stage. This provides another positive vehicle for public participation.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Information briefings to elected representatives and governmental agencies During the planning stages. Third. such as newspaper articles. This lack of communication precludes effective citizen participation in many cases. Public Information and Public Involvement Public information techniques and the level of public involvement vary depending upon the stage of development of the project. and these comments are carefully evaluated and considered in the decisionmaking process. be one prerequisite communication step in a public participation program that includes other forms of interaction with a well-informed public. These activities can be Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. The elements of an effective participation system are 1. is not very useful to the community or the agency. the input provided by the citizenry should result in a course of action consistent with the desires and needs of their fellow community members. For a communication technique to function as a public participation tool. Information exchange 2. Second. Access to decision making 3. First. The agency must have the power to act on behalf of the citizens. information and involvement techniques include the notice of intent announcement followed by the “scoping process” as required by the CEQ regulations.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. without influence on the ultimate decision. and announcements through the news media 2. Effective Public Participation Effective public or community participation has been defined as occurring when a community acts with full information.

The diverse perspectives of the community’s citizens provide input that could otherwise be obtained only through extensive fieldwork by the agency sponsoring the project. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. and problems. 4. 2.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. but should reside in a central locus. thus permitting effective and efficient leadership. Benefits from an Effective Public Participation Program The catalog of reasons why decision making should not occur in a public forum. Workshops and seminars 7. Information and involvement techniques include 1.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. and site visits and field trips for the interested groups. All rights reserved. cost-effective. conclusive decisions. A community may be expected to react unfavorably when previous input to other pertinent plans is summarily disregarded by agency planners and decision makers. . this slow action has a distinct benefit. For technical aspects of the project. During the design stages of a construction project. Active public involvement can also ensure that the final product.digitalengineeringlibrary. General statements without proper scientific foundation are not likely to influence the agency or help the group’s interests. persons trained in the field should be consulted to assist the public interest group. which the community helps to develop. Congress is often perceived to act on issues lethargically. Centralized decision making leads to more rapid. Mailings to groups and individuals requesting specific information 6. the information techniques are more specific and are focused on the critical issues identified during the scoping process. This perspective on the value of public participation suggests that decisions made on behalf of the public by centralized agencies can be substantially enhanced by providing channels for public input. appearing to be inefficient and ineffective in comparison with the executive branch.18 CHAPTER TEN supplemented by brochures and information sheets on the project. Participation as a group member can provide the necessary knowledge base to comment meaningfully on an EIS and the necessary organizational strength to influence the agency’s decision-making process (6). However. further. limitations (most often). 3. is extensive. the possibility that there might be a closer integration of planning and development with existing area planning efforts in which major input has already been made by the public. Public hearings Public meetings Presentations to community groups Presentations to governmental agencies representing public interest in areas of their expertise or jurisdictional responsibility 5. There is. and during final execution plan development of other types of projects and actions. The military is built on this mode of decision making. will be successfully implemented. Implementation is much more likely where the community has taken an active concern in planning problems and has played an important role in generating and evaluating alternative solutions. reviewing and intelligently commenting on an EIS can be a difficult undertaking for an individual. There is a greater likelihood that more viable or innovative alternatives to a project will be identified by opening up the process to the public. Community members are well aware of their own resources. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. it provides an opportunity for diverse views to be accommodated. Focused meetings with public interest groups Participation as a Group Member Because of the complexity of projects.

erosion resulting from runoff from a newly cleared construction site is a direct impact. a prediction of the probable changes which may resuIt from a proposed or impending action. The adverse effects on the aquatic ecosystem caused by the erosion and soil loss described in the preceding paragraph are an example of an indirect impact. workers. Impact Types With environmental impacts defined as changes in any component of the biophysical or socioeconomic environment.19 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS An environmental impact may be defined as a change in one or more of various socioeconomic and biophysical characteristics of the environment. and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency or person undertakes such other actions. also called secondary impacts.digitalengineeringlibrary. it is necessary to superimpose the proposed action on the affected environment and project possible impacts on the environmental characteristics. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. In order for impact identification to be accomplished.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Cumulative impacts.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. indirect. The following discussion describes some of the considerations to be made in the projection of environmental impacts. and other natural systems including ecosystems. All rights reserved. therefore. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Direct impacts are also referred to as primary impacts. . and/or resources are involved? Where will the action take place? When will the various activities associated with the project occur? 2. negative. present. may include growth-inducing effects and other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use. Indirect Impacts. Indirect impacts are caused by an action but are usually either (1) later in time or (2) further removed in distance. water. an impact may be positive. It is first necessary to develop a complete understanding of the proposed action incorporated in this portion of the analysis. A detailed description of what needs to be done or accomplished is required. it is necessary to follow a sequence of steps as outlined below 1. Impacts may be classified as direct. It is then necessary to gain a complete understanding of the affected environment. or cumulative. quantifying changes whenever possible and aggregating the impacts in order to prepare an environmental document describing the anticipated changes. What resource factors in the biophysical and/or socioeconomic environments exist and are likely to be changed or affected by the action? 3. What kinds of materials. or it may have both beneficial and detrimental aspects simultaneously. Identification of Impacts The identification of environmental impacts is the essence of the environmental assessment process. or growth rate and related effects on air. Finally. Reservoir siltation and ultimate reduction in storage volume resulting from the erosion described in the preceding paragraphs is an example of a cumulative impact. Direct Impacts. Indirect impacts. As an example. A cumulative impact is one that results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past. population density. Direct impacts are caused by a specific action and occur at the same time and location as the action. Cumulative impacts might result from individually minor or innocuous actions which may be collectively significant when taking place over a long period of time. Environmental assessment is.

The traditional problem of comparing “apples and alligators” results. The first involves the wide range of environmental characteristics or resource factors that are utilized to describe the biophysical and socioeconomic environment. the following discussion is broken into seven areas. basic list of environmental categories is utilized to develop an expanded list of detailed attributes that are specific and relevant to the proposed project and its alternatives in a given range of environmental settings.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. The seven areas are 1. Measurement of Impact It is desirable to quantify impacts wherever possible. data acquisition. Atmosphere Water Land Biological environment Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Categories of Environmental Resource Factors Basic environmental resource factors include both biophysical and socioeconomic considerations. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Aggregation Prior to reporting results of an environmental assessment in an environmental document. These listings may be expanded and/or reduced as particular circumstances warrant. . It should be noted that identification of environmental impact must be accomplished with the understanding that the environment is in a dynamic state. with a short description of detailed attributes which may be considered in each category. Resource factors or “attributes” provide a mechanism for impact identification. measurement. This may be accomplished through the use of instrumentation. In situations where quantitative measurements are not possible. and aggregation. Relative changes and general comparisons. 3. These methodologies will be discussed in a later section. That is. The second problem involves the need to aggregate impacts of various activities on a single resource factor. an initial. It is the function of the environmental assessment process to consider only those changes or impacts that would be expected to result from the project. 2. The discussion that follows provides a basic listing of formal resource factor categories and a higher level of attributes in each category. For convenience. may be utilized in the absence of adequate measurable parameters. In this aggregation two problems normally occur.20 CHAPTER TEN Several methods have been developed that may be utilized to accomplish the analysis in a systematic fashion. it is necessary to aggregate or combine the impacts identified with the various aspects of the proposed project. application of models or other acceptable quantification techniques. RESOURCE FACTORS In order to facilitate the identification and description of impacts of the environment. 4.digitalengineeringlibrary. In most assessment methodologies. Finally. All rights reserved. impacts may be described through the use of qualitative measurements. changes are occurring in virtually all aspects of the environment on a continuing basis. the combination of aggregative effects must be utilized to develop a comparative discussion for the decision-making process in the evaluation of different alternatives.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. it is useful to describe the environment in specific terms. based upon expert judgment.

and damage synthetic fibers and clothing. For most of these attributes. it is desirable to further define them. vegetative or material effects usually are minimal. such as decomposition of organic matter on land and in swamps and marshes. . Generated primarily by the combustion of fossil fuels. plant injury. The primary concern associated with hydrocarbons lies in their role in the formation of photochemical oxidants and smog. To make a list of attributes useful. An understanding of the diffusion factor is necessary in determining the extent to which air pollution can build up in a given region. and sulfurous acid. However. sulfur trioxide. 3. Ranging in size from 0. Human aspects 7. Sound 6. produce corrosion. Products of atmospheric reactions between hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Photochemical Oxidants. and climatic conditions. Other resource factors may be added depending on the complexity of the project and level of detail necessary for impact analysis. Impacts to air quality frequently head the list of concerns associated with environmental assessment.digitalengineeringlibrary. and production of acid rain. wind speed.21 5. Adverse health effects are related to carbon monoxide poisoning. 4. one of the most prevalent air pollutants. particulates can produce health effects. Carbon monoxide is one of the most widely distributed and most commonly occurring air pollutants. Undesirable results of sulfur oxides include health effects. 2: 1. visibility problems.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. The diffusion factor is related to the structural aspects of the air environment. 9. Hydrocarbons include several organic compounds that are produced when petroleum fuels are burned. sulfuric acid. Definition of the attribute Activities that affect the attribute Source of effect Variables to be measured How variables are measured Data sources for the attribute baseline information Skills and instruments required to collect the data Evaluation and interpretation of data Geographical and temporal limitations Mitigation of impacts Secondary effects Other comments and additional references Atmosphere. 11. nitrogen oxides can affect vegetation. 8. Particulates. Economic aspects It needs to be emphasized that the listing is an example set. Furthermore. Automobile exhausts produce approximately one-half the hydrocarbons emitted to the atmosphere. structural and material deterioration. Particulates. nitrogen oxides may contribute substantially to the acid rain problem. sulfur oxides are usually a combination of sulfur dioxide. 12. stability. 2. topography.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. 10. It reflects such components as vertical temperature structure. exist in the form of individual particles suspended in the air. a writeup covering the following items is available in Ref. 6. particularly in space heating and burning of refuse.01 to 100 m. and property value reductions. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Nitrogen oxides are produced as a result of high-temperature combustion. Other hydrocarbons are produced from natural sources. they produce photochemical smog. 5. increased corrosion of metals. 7. In combination with hydrocarbons. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of carbonaceous materials in fuels. Carbon Monoxide. Hydrocarbons. Diffusion Factor. Sulfur Oxides. All rights reserved. leading to potential health effects. Nitrogen Oxides. This is particularly so when such impacts are visible and/or of a toxic nature. Although direct health effects are uncertain.

mineral tastes. The impacts on water quality. Total dissolved solids or TDS is the sum of carbonates. Water. chromium. Radioactive sources may include power development. which are of particular importance in many projects.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Absence of DO leads to the development of anaerobic conditions with their associated odor and aesthetic problems. and treatment costs necessary to correct pH-related problems may also result. loss of social and economic status. and other substances. in effect. These salts in solution may alter the physical and chemical nature of water. it is necessary to prevent excessive levels of radiation from reaching any organism. Suspended solids contained in water are those that are not in solution but which may be removed through laboratory filtration tests. Changes in the velocity of flow and in discharge rates are important from both quantitative and qualitative standpoints. water conditions become septic and other water quality and aesthetic problems result. When water is released into an environment at temperatures much higher or lower than those of the ambient conditions. Acid and Alkali. and insomnia. loss of appetite. These materials can create serious health hazards and diseases of a chronic nature. As oxygen is utilized. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Eutrophic conditions are typified by dense algae growth. bicarbonates. Nutrients. Dissolved Oxygen (DO). Adequate DO levels are necessary in surface waters to maintain growth of fish and other desirable aquatic life. Since water temperature is closely associated with physical. lead. Discharge of wastes which significantly alter the pH of the aquatic environment may be extremely damaging to aquatic life. BOD is an indirect measure of the amount of biological degradable organic material present in water. asbestos. fertilizers. and biological conditions.22 CHAPTER TEN which are initiated by sunlight are called photochemical oxidants. Suspended solids may lead to undesirable aesthetic conditions. DO is necessary in water to maintain aerobic conditions. nitrates. The release of toxic substances such as elements or compounds of arsenic. and may contain organic or inert substances. Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). Flow Variations. in essence. All rights reserved. “thermal pollution” may result. Nutrients are. Thermal Discharge. This term relates the consumption rates to the recharge rates. industrial operations. mercury. they include forms of nitrogen and phosphorus which are responsible for eutrophication of water supplies. Since ionizing radiation is injurious when absorbed in living tissues in concentrations substantially above that present in natural background. settleable. barium. Although most malodors are considered harmless. phosphates. the aquatic ecosystem may be significantly disrupted as a result of a thermal discharge. Dissolved Solids. chemical. Ozone is a product of these reactions. potassium.digitalengineeringlibrary. sulfates. Dissolved oxygen will be depleted in the process of satisfying BOD requirements. Solids may be floating. tungsten. discomfort. Suspended Solids. silt and sediment loading. radioactive wastes. photochemical oxidants may lead to the deterioration of materials such as polymers and rubber. . or nonsettleable. and material disposal. If consumption is greater than recharge. Aquifer Safe Yield. difficulties in water treatment and adverse impacts on fish and other aquatic life. Social and economic losses in terms of reduced productivity. and fish kills. Although the toxicological potential of photochemical oxidants on animal and human receptors is uncertain. being mined—an undesirable situation. Radioactivity. sodium. surface water scums. nickel. Many activities increase the supply of nutrients to natural waters. periods of anaerobic conditions. are of greatest concern when the results reduce the beneficial use or the aesthetic appeal of water supplies. acute and chronic injury may occur to vegetation. and various salts of calcium. Also. chlorides. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. High amounts of TDS are objectionable because of physiological effects. they may cause loss of personnel and community pride. Odors. declining recreational activity. Hazardous Toxicants. nausea. magnesium. the aquifer is. as is peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN). and phenols may cause serious damage to the health and welfare of an exposed community. and downstream effects on aquatic life may result from changes in upstream land use. foul-smelling water.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. or economic consequences. medical laboratories. The dependability of groundwater from a quantitative standpoint is dependent upon aquifer safe yield. Nutrient transport.

Greater species diversity indicates that the ecosystem is more able to resist disturbance and stress. or other disease-causing organisms. and fish. Since this balance is crucial to the long-term viability of human beings. Small Game. killing. . wildfires. Since any pollution tends to upset this natural balance. may cause great personal and physical damage when they occur in areas of concentrated human activity. e. water. and pesticides.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. natural and artificial barriers. the degree of damage done may be dictated by the location and magnitude of population centers and other developments. poisonings. and eating small animals. Fecal Coliforms. Most food and fiber resources come from the land. Land Use Patterns. land use patterns evolve as a result of (1) changing economic considerations. the occurrence of these hazards may be accelerated through human activity. and volcanos. Aquatic life refers to the population of species which exists in a state of dynamic balance in water supplies. In other situations. Erosion. reduction of beneficial use of water. that result in discomfort. (2) legal restrictions. flooding.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. injury. both wild and domestic. Historically. water. and more and extensive treatment requirements. or death to humans. cyanides. thus. Land. that weigh typically more than 30 lb when fully grown. viruses. changes in the many previously listed attributes will influence aquatic life. Land use patterns are natural or imposed configurations that result from spatial arrangement of the different uses of land at a given time. sulfides. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. however. Compatibility of use between one parcel of land and adjacent properties becomes a controlling issue. Although humans have made progress in providing for their needs. that the water may contain bacteria. Erosion is a process whereby soil particles are dislodged and transported to another location by wind or water action. Fish are cold-blooded aquatic animals that obtain oxygen through a gill system and inhabit saltwater and freshwater bodies and streams. Erosion may be highly destructive and render land unproductive and/or may pose a physical barrier to other activities. and (3) changes in existing legal restrictions. the results are often accomplished at the expense of the total ecological balance of the environment. Many activities affect the land resource and may preclude alternative uses. Many human activities result in habitat destruction or in other impacts to these animals. Natural hazards include floods. detrimental changes in physical character of the land. and other activities. damage or destruction to physical structures.23 Toxic Compounds. Fecal coliforms are single-celled bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Biological Environment. and air. such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Their presence in water is an indication of possible contamination by human wastes and. Adverse effects that can result include damage to aquatic life. Fish and Shellfish. Predatory Birds. Birds of prey are flesh eaters that typically obtain their food by hunting. noise. Natural Hazards. The biological environment and its attributes can be utilized interchangeably with the concept of ecology and the ecosystem. Other hazards. earth slides. other birds. All rights reserved. Water courses downslope from eroded areas may be adversely affected by excessive sediment loads. consequently. brought about by the forces of nature. or damage to plant and animal life in the affected area. such as zoning.g. or intrusion into or near nesting areas. In some cases. Convincing evidence exists that species diversity in an ecosystem is closely related to the stability of that system. organic chemicals. it must be used in a properly planned and controlled manner. Large Animals (Wild and Domestic). These birds are frequently impacted by loss of habitat. Areas subjected to erosive forces may become barren and aesthetically unappealing.digitalengineeringlibrary. Large animals are those. These populations may be affected by food supplies. the occurrence is unaffected by human activity. Small game includes both upland game birds and animals that typically weigh less than 30 lb as adults and which are hunted for sport. Toxic compounds may occur in wastes containing heavy metals. cover. Aquatic Life. species diversity must be maintained. Shellfish are aquatic animals that have an exoskeleton Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.. Natural hazards are those occurrences.

and objectives of the organization’s population. or fear.24 CHAPTER TEN shell. The makeup of organizations may vary. Human Aspects. although they may be rooted in soil. Physiological Systems.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Communication Effects. This category refers to the way in which people interact with each other and the natural environment. Third. Field Crops. Second. and obtain at least part of their food from aquatic plants. Psychological Needs. Temporary interference or interruption can be annoying and occasionally harmful to personal well-being. and recreational opportunity. ferns. Aquatic Plants. shrubs. This response may be manifested with signs of increased annoyance. anxiety. and startle response to high-intensity noises. Waterfowl are birds that frequent and often swim in water. diversion of attention. and lichens. Psychological Effects. any activity which affects water quality and water level will impact on their well-being. Field crops are those commercially cultivated for the primary purpose of providing food and clothing for humans or food for domestic livestock. Activities which affect these needs are essentially the same as those which impact life-styles. increase tension and fatigue. activities which affect water quality and water level will also impact waterfowl. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Performance Effects. and frequency content. Activities which impact field crops include those that alter land use and those which affect crop production. grasses. The bases for these organizations might be ethnic. standards of living. with resulting irritability and often irrational behavior. interests. and swamp and marsh vegetation whose roots are periodically or primarily submerged in water. increase pulse and respiration rates. and insects. The level of sound is an important indicator of environmental quality. Sound. This is manifested through increase in muscular tension. political. internal bodily systems may be affected. Physiological Effects. Life-styles. trees. The social activities of humans often take on structural characteristics which eventually cause them to become organizations. for example. lapse in attention. Noise has been defined as unwanted sound in the environment. nest and raise their young near water.digitalengineeringlibrary. These systems include anything that is a part of a person’s body or that plays a Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. The presence of noise can adversely affect face-to-face conversation and telephone communication. or occupational. cause dizziness. Changes in life-styles may be reflected by activities which affect employment. all surface and submerged rooted plants. Aquatic plants are those whose growth medium is primarily water. Successional change is slow. First. including the application of herbicides or other toxic materials. duration. masking of needed auditory signals. extreme noises may constrict blood vessels. religious. Activities that cause changes in water level or water quality parameters have the greatest impact on aquatic plants. herbs. community development. and cause loss of balance. depending upon the characteristics. Since these species depend directly on water for some or all aspects of their existence. the hearing threshold may be impacted with temporary or permanent hearing loss resulting. sleep patterns may be disrupted. The presence of noise can affect the ability of a human to perform mechanical and mental tasks. . Noise can affect physiology in three different ways. Native vegetation is established through a series of successional stages. animals. Psychological needs of human beings are primarily those of emotional stability and security. Noise exposure can have an impact on an individual’s mental stability and psychological response. They include free-floating plants.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. These interactions are frequently complex and their analysis requires careful scrutiny of all activities and interrelationships. All rights reserved. Included are plants. and disruption frequently results in the least-desirable plant types becoming the first to be reestablished. Natural land vegetation is vegetation that uses soil as its growth medium and that is not the subject of extensive cultural practices. Because they depend directly on water for all or some facets of their existence. Waterfowl. Natural Land Vegetation. Important variables of noise that result in psychological effects are its loudness.

efficient functioning. In environmental impact analysis. water supply. knowledgeable wildlife biologists or botanists should be called on to verify their presence and to give a preliminary assessment of the impact of the activity on the population of this species. Community Needs. If any question exists as to the presence of a threatened species in the area of a project. such as gas. noise. the more stable it is likely to be. Effects may reflect impact on industrial and commercial activities. it is essential that an environmental assessment adequately addresses projected impacts due to all project alternatives. Public Sector Revenues and Expenditures. skeletal and excretory systems.digitalengineeringlibrary. There are many possible sources of impacts. industrial reduction or deletion.25 part in a bodily function. radiation. While animal species are the ones most often cited in the news media. and police and fire protection. and digestive organs. Lists of threatened animal species are published periodically by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife of the U. They include respiratory. Regional Economic Stability. The more diverse an economy and the more closely related it is to growth areas of the national economy. Department of the Interior. the potential impact on the economic structure or changes resulting from project activities comes primarily from the direct effect of purchases of goods and services for project activities and from the indirect effects arising from goods and services purchased from payrolls. Any activity that can harm or threaten the efficient functioning of any part of the human body must be considered in light of its effect. circulatory. gases. sewage disposal. Stability refers to a resistance to change in the ability of a region’s economy to withstand severe fluctuations or to the speed and ease an economy demonstrates in returning to an equilibrium situation after receiving a shock. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. The annual per capita personal consumption of goods and services by local citizens can be interpreted as a direct measure of personal economic well-being. Environmentally Sensitive Areas Several resource factors are particularly important due to their tendency to elicit strong public reaction. the local government. Furthermore.S. and all parts of the human body that contribute to its effective. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. or disease. A community requires many services including housing. When impacts occur in these areas. Any change or impact that occurs will depend primarily on the degree to which a population is affected by a proposed activity. there are many species of plants that also qualify as threatened. All rights reserved. Changes in this factor can be interpreted as a measure of a change in economic well-being of the public sector. Formerly categorized as “rare or endangered. These range from activities that might impair the safety of individuals when placed in a working environment to exposure to hazardous chemicals. utilities. . and the individual. Threatened Species. Increases or decreases in local employment.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Human Health and Safety. and construction all have the potential to affect per capita consumption. Per Capita Consumption. This attribute consists of the annual per capita revenues and expenditures of local and state governments and associated agencies in the region under study. Nonrenewable Resources. recreational facilities. Nonrenewable resource consumption is of particular interest since the consumption or utilization represents a commitment that is potentially irreversible or irretrievable.” threatened species include all forms of plants and animals whose rates of reproduction have declined to the point where their populations are so small they are in danger of disappearing. electricity and telephone. Economic Aspects. Any activity that can adversely impact human health or increase the risk due to accidental exposure must be considered. the assessment should contain a detailed discussion of mitigation measures which would be implemented should the project be undertaken. Fossil fuels.

com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. and architectural resources. Other forms of cultural resources are associated with behavior patterns and may be associated with customs. state that the required section on alternatives is the “heart” of the EIS. Although agencies are not to commit resources that would prejudice the selection of alternatives before making a final decision.26 CHAPTER TEN metals. and/or methods to accomplish a single objective. and may take the form of sites. traditions. archeological. a preferred alternative may exist is recognized by the CEQ regulations. due to economic or other reasons. such alternatives may be listed and the reason for lack of detailed analysis included. Cultural Resources. Possible exclusions are those alternatives too remote or speculative to be viable. No Action. Cultural resources may include historic. many building materials. (2) all “reasonable” alternatives. taste. artifacts. (3) the agency’s “preferred” alternative(s). sites. Preferred Alternatives. briefly discuss reasons for their having been eliminated. timing or scheduling. Although aesthetic perceptions usually require the consideration of all senses simultaneously. and touch. and (4) mitigation measures not discussed with the previous alternatives. Impacts on nonrenewable resources may be minimized by economizing on resource requirements. All rights reserved. Analysis of the “no action” alternative requires a projection of future environmental conditions without the proposed project. The CEQ regulations call for agencies to “rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives. the regulations state that “reasonable alternatives not within the jurisdiction of the lead agency” are to be included in the analysis (1). Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. etc.” Furthermore. hearing. and for alternatives that were eliminated from detailed study. CEQ regulations. Generally speaking. in fact. Reasonable Alternatives. Where sheer guesswork would be necessary in the evaluation. development and use of substitutes. or properties.digitalengineeringlibrary. Impacts on aesthetics are those that are perceived through the senses: sight. the fact that.” although the courts have rendered various decisions that may be utilized in making a determination. the proposed action or preferred alternative can be more easily compared to the other alternatives prior to final decision making. Aesthetics. If such preference does indeed exist. or those unavailable in the proposed time frame. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. it should be so stated. if one or more exist. visual perception is perhaps the most familiar of the areas. in other words. any activity that will change the quality or distinguishable characteristic of the perceived environment can be considered as having an effect on aesthetics. recycling. what will happen if “nothing” is done or if the decision is made to simply maintain the status quo. Options may include alternatives in terms of routes. objectives. There is no clear definition of what constitutes “reasonableness.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Aesthetic considerations may be complex to evaluate because these perceptions are individual and values for definition become difficult to quantify. . and religious beliefs and practices. smell. ALTERNATIVES The analysis of alternatives is an important consideration in the environmental assessment process. and other materials fall into this category. Types of Alternatives Specifically included in the alternatives to be considered are (1) the “no action” alternative. In this manner. mineral resources.

as shown in Figure 10. This section provides a brief overview of each of these basic components of the NEPA process.digitalengineeringlibrary. The minimization of adverse impacts (mitigation) often may be accomplished in a variety of ways. the potential impacts are identified and the indicated documentation is prepared. This is accomplished through the efforts of a group of individuals with expertise encompassing the entire range of resource factors previously discussed participating in the assessment study. and other documents is accomplished through an interdisciplinary effort requiring the acquisition of background or baseline data and information and development of an accurate and complete definition of the scope of the proposed project. the documents are reviewed and disseminated for use in decision making. eliminating consideration of impacts unrelated to a specific area or site. group working sessions frequently become spirited”. the acquisition of first-hand or primary data. The background studies should incorporate existing conditions.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Conditions Prior to the Activity. Furthermore. in order that the issues may be sharply defined and result in providing a clear basis for choice among options by the decision maker and the public (4). This means that due consideration must be given to all facets of the environment—biophysical and socioeconomic. Baseline Studies To establish the baseline requires a study of the environmental setting or location and conditions under which the proposed action is to take place. impact statements. these individuals must participate as team members. Then. This may include the assembling of previously collected or secondary data. geographic characteristics. interacting and cross-communicating so that the result is interdisciplinary as opposed to multidisciplinary. such exchange is often highly productive and becomes essential to the identification of indirect and cumulative impacts as is required in the analysis. and when necessary.27 Mitigation Measures. Although no format is specified. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. The nature of the impact is determined by the conditions of the environment prior to the activity. special effort to include them as alternatives is required. The CEQ regulations require that the statement should present the environmental impact of the proposal and the alternatives in comparative form. . however.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Alternative Analysis Each alternative is to be analyzed for environmental impact. If appropriate mitigation measures are identified but have not already been included in the discussion of the proposed action or alternatives. All rights reserved. This information establishes the status of the attributes prior to the activity at the Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. The Interdisciplinary Team As specified in the act. utilizing a methodology to systematically relate activities of the proposed project and the alternatives to the affected environment. the requirement to present alternatives in comparative form frequently results in a matrix display of alternatives and summarized impacts.6. and aiding in the quantification of impacts where the severity of impact would vary. Finally. and temporal characteristics in such manner that the baseline information serves as a filtering mechanism. ASSESSMENT PREPARATION AND REVIEW The preparation and review of environmental assessments. As a general rule. NEPA requires the utilization of an interdisciplinary approach.

com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.digitalengineeringlibrary.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.28 CHAPTER TEN FIGURE 10. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.6 Matrix format for comparison of alternatives. .

The scoping process also serves as a mechanism to identify other environmental review and consultation requirements and to allocate responsibilities among lead and cooperating agencies. It is essential to ensure that all impacts are examined over the same projected time period.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Temporal Characteristics. have cumulatively significant impacts and should therefore be discussed in the same impact statement. and other interested persons must be invited to participate in the scoping process. Before completing the scoping process. It is necessary that the scoping process take place as soon as possible after an agency decides to prepare an EIS. Time may also pose problems for impact analysis. to adequately compare (or combine) activity impacts. All rights reserved. which include 1. B. Mitigation measures (not in the proposed action) C. the proponent of the action. Scoping The term “scoping” refers to a process of identification of the important issues that require full analysis and the separation of those issues from the less significant ones that do not require detailed study. the impact of similar projects on water quality in an area with abundant water supplies versus the impact in an area with scarce water resources would differ significantly. the lead agency must publish a notice of intent. by which it is meant that they are closely related and therefore should be discussed in the same impact statement. Affected federal. These include A. such as common timing or geography. Furthermore. Cumulative Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. It should do so when the best way to assess adequately the combined impacts of similar actions or reasonable alternatives to such actions is to treat them in a single impact statement. state. identification of the characteristics of the baseline is critical. and local agencies. Automatically trigger other actions that may require environmental impact statements b. it is necessary that the same time period (or periods) apply. Cumulative actions. Impacts. Direct 2. three types of alternatives. . No action alternative 2. Indirect 3. Geographic Characteristics. one of the factors that affects the merit or relative importance of a particular attribute. have enough in common to provide a basis for evaluating their environmental consequences together. Because the measurement and analysis of environmental impact cannot take place without base data. and three types of impacts (4).digitalengineeringlibrary. Other reasonable courses of action 3. Actions (other than unconnected single actions) that may be 1. which when viewed with other proposed actions. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. Are interdependent parts of a larger action and depend on the larger action for their justification. therefore. which may be 1. or c. An agency may wish to analyze these actions in the same impact statement. For example. Actions are connected if they a. There may be significant differences in impact on attributes caused by a given activity in different areas. Connected actions. Cannot or will not proceed unless other actions are taken previously or simultaneously. In determining the scope of environmental impacts. 2. Geographic location is. The spatial dispersion of different activities introduces an element of difficulty when comparing the impact of one activity with another. Alternatives. 3.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. which when viewed with other reasonably foreseeable or proposed agency actions. the CEQ requires that agencies consider three types of actions. Similar actions.29 project location. any affected Native American tribe.

30 CHAPTER TEN Assessment Methodologies Many methodologies have been developed which allow the user to respond in a substantive manner to CEQ requirements when preparing an EA/EIS. . analytical models. (3) provide guidance for abatement and mitigation techniques. Presented in this section is a discussion of some of these impact assessment methodology types (2). Impacts are identified by noting the impacted environmental characteristics within the project boundaries. Matrix methodologies may either specify actions that impact certain environmental characteristics or may simply list the range of possible actions and characteristics in an open matrix that will be completed by the analyst. and (5) provide a methodology and a procedure to use this comprehensive information to respond to the requirements of environmental assessment documentation preparation. The two lists are related in a matrix that identifies cause–effect relationships between specific activities and impacts. use a combination of matrices.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies.g. they do not require establishing direct cause–effect links to project activities. These methodologies work from a list of project activities to establish cause–condition–effect relationships. e. ecological. 2. 7). Combination Computer-Aided Methods. These maps are overlaid to produce a composite characterization of the regional environment. Checklists. They are an attempt to recognize that a series of impacts may be triggered by a project action. These methodologies present a specific list of environmental parameters to be investigated for possible impacts. Document Preparation Results of the impact analysis process are organized into one or more of the following documents: 1. These methodologies provide minimal guidance for impact assessment beyond suggesting broad areas of possible impacts. There is an extensive literature that discusses and describes various specific methodologies (2. These methodologies incorporate a list of project activities with a checklist of potentially impacted environmental characteristics. Networks. (2) identify potential environmental impacts at different user levels. 3. Matrices. and aesthetic). Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. and forests. All rights reserved. They may or may not include guidelines for the measurement and interpretation of parametric data. These approaches generally define a set of possible networks and allow the user to identify impacts by selecting and tracing out the appropriate project actions. 4. impacts on flora and fauna. (4) provide analytical models to establish cause–effect relationships to quantitatively determine potential environmental impacts. These methodologies rely on a set of maps of a project area’s environmental characteristics (physical.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. rather than defining specific parameters to be investigated.. Ad Hoc. usually developed to assess large federal agency projects. An environmental assessment (EA) A finding of no significant impact (FONSI) A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) A final environmental impact statement (FEIS) Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary. networks. and a computer-aided systematic approach to: (1) identify activities associated with implementing major federal programs. These methodologies. social. Overlays. lakes.

All rights reserved.digitalengineeringlibrary. . 8. Details of the specific format for environmental impact analysis documentation are given by individual agency guidelines. rather than a means of justifying decisions already made. 10. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. such as that shown in Figure 10. It may be useful to consider displaying the results in a way that makes it easy to comprehend total impact from a brief review.7 Example impact summary sheet (6). for a variety of purposes.7. General comments included in the CEQ regulations regarding the preparation of EISs can be summarized as follows 1. EISs should be concise. based on the EIS. 4. Alternatives discussed should be limited to those that are expected to be considered by the agency decision maker. Five typical review situations and three common areas of concern among the different types of review have been identified (2). depending on the reviewers. 9.31 FIGURE 10. will or will not achieve the requirements of Sections 101 and 102(1) of NEPA and other environmental laws and policies. and from different perspectives. The agency should not commit resources prejudicing selection of alternatives before making a final decision. 3. 5. EISs should be a means of assessing the environmental impact of the proposed action. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. 2. These guidelines should be consulted and followed for each analysis. A systematic and interdisciplinary approach should be used to prepare EISs. EISs should be written in plain language and appropriate graphics may be used so that decision makers and the public can readily understand the documents. EISs should be analytic rather than encyclopedic. 6. EISs should state how alternatives considered and decisions made. Document Review The review of NEPA-related documents takes place at many different levels.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. One suggested method for doing this is by displaying the impacts on a summary sheet. 7. Public participation should be actively sought during the scoping process and in the early planning stages of the project to identify significant issues. Impacts should be discussed in proportion to their significance.

Three areas of concern are common to the diverse review situations outlined above. This aspect of review is concerned with clearness. the draft statement must be sent to federal agencies. The lead agency must also request comments from the general public. championed or respected by some. Comments are usually solicited through published notices. All rights reserved. . and contact with known interested conservation groups and individuals. For final statements. Native American tribes when a reservation may be affected.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Internal Review. Administrative Compliance Review. NEPA AFTER 25 YEARS Immediately after its enactment. public hearings. Intraagency or “in-house” review whereby the document is examined for glaring errors. and specific agency document preparation and processing requirements. What is now known as the “NEPA process” has become a matter of routine. CEQ regulations. completeness. the proponent agency is required to request comments of appropriate state and local agencies authorized to enforce environmental standards 4. began developing an infrastructure to respond to the legal and procedural requirements. This concern focuses on the document from the standpoint of compliance with NEPA. Specific review situations include the following. tolerated or criticized by others. Draft and final EIS documents are reviewed by the EPA. but appeals to have stabilized at approximately 500 per year in the 1990s. That are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards 3. and ultimately better decisions. EPA considers the environmental impact of the action and the adequacy of the statement. CEQ guidelines. Interagency Review. The third aspect is concerned with the technical accuracy and adequacy of the document. including landmark court cases. Having jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved. For draft statements. the EIS document is reviewed at the agency decision level. Public Review. General Document Review. the number of EISs filed reached over 2000 per year. and utilized in preparing the record of decision. NEPA began to alter the way federal agencies did business. Regardless of the approach taken. Technical Review. In addition.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Review for Decision Making.32 CHAPTER TEN Review Situations. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Before preparation of the final EIS. Again.digitalengineeringlibrary. interpreted and further shaped the law. Types of Review. and technical content prior to public release is standard practice. In the years immediately following the enactment of NEPA. That number declined to less that 400 per year in 1989. Agencies. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. results are published in the Federal Register. the overall review process is essential to the preparation of better documents. Finally. and 5. Legal actions. legal compliance. responding to NEPA. EPA reviews the document with primary attention directed to substantive issues related to environmental impact assessment. and subsequent regulations. Several approaches for reviewing NEPA-related documents have been developed. style. or 2. Any agency making a request. and correctness. Most utilize either an independent analysis or predetermined evaluation criteria to score or rate a document. 1. EPA Review. Results of the review are published in the Federal Register.

they are in a position to make better decisions with regard to the needs of the community and minimize adverse impacts on the environment. and improvement” (9) The study concluded that NEPA has been a success because it (1) causes agencies tv examine the environmental consequences of their actions before they make final decisions. When agencies bring the full range of biophysical and socioeconomic factors affecting a single place into their management and planning processes. In many cases. requirements. Unfortunately. and (2) provides a framework for collaboration between the agencies causing the actions and those who will be affected by the consequences (environmental. and to improve the environmental planning process. and costs and delays associated with data collection. Interdisciplinary. Difficulties include lack of quality environmental baseline data. and distrust. In others. identifying areas “. incur increased costs or end up with fewer alternatives available for consideration.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. and modes of public participation. along with some members of Congress.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Place-based Approach to Decision Making NEPA calls for an interdisciplinary approach to planning and decision making. policies and programs at an early stage. Problems are often initiated by conflicting or different timetables. social. Strategic Planning The NEPA process provides a framework for integrating environmental concerns directly into agency internal planning. . Agencies then encounter delays. . agencies have actively solicited ideas and concerns from the public to improve the quality of projects and reduce adverse impacts on the environment. sometimes leading to litigation. internet communications. federal agencies with NEPA implementation experience. the desired level of public involvement has not been achieved. and geographic information systems hold considerable promise for improvements in this area. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. and the public. Public Information and Input NEPA significantly increased public information and input into agency decision making by opening opportunities for involvement.33 On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the act. with the result being a sense on the part of citizens of dissatisfaction. the CEQ conducted a reflective study of NEPAs effectiveness and prospects for improvements. state and local agencies. lack of early participation by resource agencies. In addition to evaluating strengths. . the process is often either initiated too late to be effective in agency planning and decision making or applied to individual projects instead of evaluating the programs that call for those projects. When information is not shared or when processes are uncoordinated. and economic impacts) of their decisions. The participants identified five elements critical to NEPA effectiveness and efficient implementation. Interagency Coordination NEPA and many subsequent laws have required interagency coordination in an effort to reduce conflicts. and pointed out problem areas associated with each element. reduce duplication of effort. thereby denying NEPA its full strategic planning value. All rights reserved.digitalengineeringlibrary. New tools such as modern computers. re-invention. agencies and often the public may be placed in adversarial positions leading to conflicts and delays. the participants also considered the potential for improving the current implementation of NEPA. frustration. Participants in the study included representatives of the original framers of the act and individuals who drafted the CEQ regulations. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. ripe for innovation.

REFERENCES 1. 4. McGraw-Hill. Washington. Washington. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. and economic factors into agency decision making. Neil. CEQ Regulations for Implementing Procedural Provisions of NEPA (43 FR 55978-56007).C. J. Council on Environmental Quality. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.. Executive Order 11991. R. whitehouse. Executive Office of the President. K. L. 1977. 7. 1993. Urban.gov/CEQ/). 42 FR 26967 (1977). The CEQ’s goal is to use the experiences of the first 25 years to streamline and improve the NEPA process. June 1976. Stacey. D.digitalengineeringlibrary. Additional information is available through its web site (www. and A. amending Executive Order 11514 (1970). R. 1978. V. 3. Environmental Impact Assessment. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (PL91-190.C. Lynton K.. 1978. V. and H. Boston.. Larry W. Mass. the CEQ hopes to make it more efficient.. 9. January 1997. Number 1.” Law Review.ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10. Department of the Air Force Handbook for Environmental Impact Analysis. “Beyond NEPA: Future Significance of the National Environmental Policy Act. Canter. Washington. S.34 CHAPTER TEN Monitoring and Adaptive Management Science-based and flexible management approaches are essential to the confirmation of predicted impacts. D. 1998. Orloff. D. Jain. The Environmental Input Statement Process: A Guide for Citizen Action. McGraw Hill.C. K. agencies may be able to decrease project startup time and reduce overall project costs. Environmental Assessment. Balbach. G. and to ensure openness in government. Vol 22. L. to promote the integration of social. By accepting more uncertainty in the environmental assessment process and adapting quickly to conditions actually encountered during the project operational phases.. . November 19... Information Resources Press..com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. New York. 5. 8. E. New York. to ensure that mitigation measures are effective and to modify remediation or mitigation processes if necessary. environmental. Cerchione. All rights reserved. Urban. The National Environmental Policy Act—A Study of Its Effectiveness After Twenty-five Years. 2. Jain. By streamlining the process. 83 Stat 852). USAF/PREV Environmental Planning. 6. Caldwell.

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