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Preparing NEPA Environmental Assessments

A User’s Guide to Best Professional Practices

By Charles Eccleston, J. Peyton Doub

CRC Press – 2012 – 316 pages

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  • Add to CartHardback: $125.95
    978-1-43-980882-5
    May 8th 2012

Description

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.

Reviews

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

Contents

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

Author Bio

Charles H. Eccleston is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in America as a nationally recognized NEPA authority. He is a consultant, author, and lecturer with some 30 years experience in NEPA, environmental policy, and analyzing the impacts of projects and energy-related policies. He also frequently consults on NEPA lawsuits. He is the author of nine books and 80 professional publications. Some of his recent books include:

J. Peyton Doub, CEP, PWS, is an Environmental Scientist and expert in preparing EAs. He has more than 20 years experience preparing EAs and EISs, wetlands and natural resources investigations, and other environmental reports. He is the author of The Endangered Species Act: History, Implementation, Successes, and Controversies (CRC Press, 2012).

Name: Preparing NEPA Environmental Assessments: A User’s Guide to Best Professional Practices (Hardback)CRC Press 
Description: By Charles Eccleston, J. Peyton Doub. 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...
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