Although upwards of 50,000 environmental assessments (EAs) are prepared annually-compared to some 500 environmental impact statements (EISs)-the focus of U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations is on defining requirements for preparing EISs. Written by Charles Eccleston and J. Peyton Doub, who have established themselves among the top environmental experts in the world, Preparing NEPA Environmental Assessments: A User's Guide to Best Professional Practices fills the need for an authoritative and comprehensive guide on how to prepare EAs.
Bridging the regulatory gap, this book identifies relevant EIS regulatory requirements that can be logically interpreted to also apply to EAs. It compiles and synthesizes information scattered throughout NEPA's regulations, executive orders, and guidance documents, and incorporates case law to provide additional clarification. The authors also draw on the professional experiences and best professional practices (BPP) of NEPA practitioners.
From the fundamentals to more advanced topics, the book presents a consistent methodology to help beginners, students, and professionals manage, analyze, and write legally sufficient EAs. It addresses dilemmas that have traditionally plagued preparation of EAs, provides BPPs, tools, and approaches for resolving problems, and introduces methods for streamlining the EA process.
Building on Eccleston's previous guide to EAs, Effective Environmental Assessments: How to Manage and Prepare NEPA Assessments (2001), this book reflects the rapid changes in government policy over the past ten years. An indispensable source of practical information, it provides readers with step-by-step direction and best practices for preparing defensible EAs.
Praise for the previous book, Effective Environmental Assessments: How to Manage and Write NEPA Assessments (CRC Press, 2001):
"Mr. Eccleston has written a most thorough guide to managing and preparing EAs that puts NEPA back into its original perspective-a planning and decision-making tool ... comprehensively covers the EA process ... provides practical guidance for effectively preparing an analysis ..."
-Mr. Russell W. Peterson, Former Governor of Delaware and Former Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
"NEPA is the cornerstone of our environmental statutory structure and provides a strategic look for long-range planning. By explaining the environmental assessment process in a scholarly, yet easily understandable way, Charles Eccleston has performed an enormous service for all who care about the protection of our country's-and indeed the world's-environment."
-Michael R. Deland, Former Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality
"Charles Eccleston has performed a real service in authoring Effective Environmental Assessments: How to Manage and Write NEPA Assessments. The book fills a void and concentrates on environmental assessments, a critical but underemphasized part of the NEPA process. It is, furthermore, both useful and user-friendly."
-Nicholas C. Yost, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, former General Counsel of the CEQ charged with responsibility for writing the 1978 CEQ NEPA Regulations
Section 1: The NEPA Environmental Assessment Process Overview and Historical Development of NEPA Introduction Origin of Environmental Movement The Historical Development of NEPA Brief Overview of NEPA The NEPA Regulations Overview of the NEPA Planning Process References General Concepts and Requirements Introduction NEPA is a Planning and Decision-Making Process Interim Actions Integrating NEPA with Other Requirements Conducting an Early and Open Process Scoping Systematic and Interdisciplinary Planning Writing Documents in Plain English Incorporation by Reference Adopting Another Agency's EA Methodology A Fair and Objective Analysis Dealing with Incomplete and Unavailable Information References NEPA and Environmental Impact Analysis Introduction Actions Environmental Disturbances Receptors and Resources Impact Analysis Significance Mitigation and Monitoring References The Threshold Question: Determining Whether an EA or an EIS is Required Introduction Proposals Legislation Major Federal Actions Significantly Affecting Human Environment Categorical Exclusions Long Versus Short Environmental Assessments References The Environmental Assessment Process Introduction Planning the Environmental Assessment The Analysis in an EA Streamlining the EA Compliance Process Issuing a Finding of No Significant Impact The Administrative Record Serving as an Expert Witness References The Environmental Impact Assessment Introduction Sliding-Scale Approach Identifying Alternatives Impacts Human Health Effects Accident Analyses Considering Other Environmental Requirements Environmental Justice References Writing the Environmental Assessment Introduction General Direction for Preparing an EA Typical Contents of an Environmental Assessment Performing the Analysis Specific Documentation Requirements and Guidance References Assessing Significance Introduction Definitions and Use of the Term "Significance" General Procedure for Determining Significance Significant Beneficial Impacts References The Finding of No Significant Impacts Introduction Reaching a Determination of Nonsignificance Preparing the FONSI Mitigated FONSIs References Section 2: NEPA Case Law and Non-NEPA Environmental Assessment Documents An Overview of NEPA Law and Litigation Principles Underlying Legal Interpretations of NEPA Process for Passing Laws and Regulations Interpreting NEPA's Regulatory Requirements A Substantive Versus Procedural Process Requirements for Bringing a Successful Environmental Lawsuit The Litigation Process Legal Standards Applied in Reviewing NEPA Judicial Remedies in NEPA Suits Recent Case Law Involving NEPA EA Case Law and EAs Study of Alternatives Analysis in NEPA Documents Other Cases Reflecting on the Preparation of EAs References Specialized Non-NEPA Environmental Assessment Documents Introduction The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment The Cell Tower NEPA Review The Biological Assessment Environmental Assessments and State NEPA Programs References Summary Introduction Index