Environmental Impact Assessment: A Guide to Best Professional Practices, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Environmental Impact Assessment

A Guide to Best Professional Practices, 1st Edition

By Charles H. Eccleston

CRC Press

290 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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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.

Table of Contents

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


About the Author

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

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General