1st Edition

Environmental Impact Assessment A Guide to Best Professional Practices

By Charles H. Eccleston Copyright 2011
    290 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    290 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Under the best of circumstances, preparing an environmental impact assessment (EIA) can be a complex and challenging task. Experience indicates that the scope and quality of such analyses varies widely throughout the U.S. as well as internationally. Written to help practitioners and decision-makers apply best professional practices in the development of EIAs, Environmental Impact Assessment: A Guide to Best Professional Practices provides an in depth, yet practical direction for developing a defensible analysis that meets best professional practices.

    The book describes preparation of five distinct types of assessments:

    • Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA)
    • Preparing Greenhouse Emission Assessments
    • Preparing Risk Assessments and Accident Analyses
    • Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Environmental Justice
    • The International Environmental Impact Assessment Process Guiding Principles

    To date, there is significant variation and disagreement about how such analyses should be prepared. The author introduces best professional practices (BPP) for preparing such EIAs that is intended to meet decision-making and regulatory expectations. He supplies a comprehensive and balanced skill set of tools, techniques, concepts, principles, and practices for preparing these assessments. He also includes directions for developing a comprehensive Environmental Management Systems which can be used to monitor and implement final decisions for such analyses. While the book references the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), most of this guidance is generally applicable to any international EIA process consistent with NEPA.

    With thorough coverage of all aspects of assessments, the book presents a theoretical introduction to the subject as well as practical guidance. It delivers state-of-the-art tools, techniques, and approaches for resolving EIA problems.  

    Cumulative impact assessment
    Definition of cumulative impact
    Types of cumulative impacts
    The scale problem: defining spatial and temporal boundaries
    Determining the scoping of actions to evaluate
    A five-step procedure for accessing cumulative impacts
    Managing and performing a cumulative impact analysis
    Resolving Eccleston’s cumulative impact paradox
    Preparing NEPA programmatic analyses and tiering
    Litigation and judicial review

    Preparing greenhouse emission assessments: A synopsis of guidance and best professional practices
    Brief summary of the science behind greenhouse warming
    Summary of key NEPA court decisions involving climate change
    Regulatory direction on considering greenhouse emissions
    NEPA and GHG impacts considerations
    Criteria useful in determining the need to evaluate
    Best professional practices for performing GHG assessments
    Method for evaluating climate change impacts
    Considering cumulative GHG impacts
    The cumulative impact paradox
    Comparative summary of the SDP process

    Preparing risk assessments and accident analyses
    Definitions of risk
    Risk assessment
    Risk in decision making
    Risk communications
    Accident analyses

    Social impact assessment and environmental justice
    Defining SIA
    Problems, authority, and conflicts in SIA
    Preparing the SIA
    Environmental justice

    The international environmental impact assessment process
    Comparison of NEPA with other EIA processes
    Programmatic and strategic
    Guidance for preparing programmatic NEPA assessments
    Problems and limitations

    Environmental management systems
    The ISO 14000 standards
    The environmental management system
    The complementary benefits of integrating sustainability with a consolidated EIA/EMS
    Constructing an integrated EIA/EMS/sustainable development process
    Acronym List


    Charles H. Eccleston is associated with the Nuclear Regulatory Agency and National Association of Environmental Professionals.