Environmental Assessment

Safe Drinking Water Act USC f et seq

The primary objectives of the act are twofold (1) to protect the nation's sources of drinking water and (2) to protect public health to the maximum extent possible, using proper water treatment techniques. The act establishes the need to set contaminant levels to protect public health. These levels were established in regulations issued pursuant to the act, which requires the EPA to develop regulations for the protection of underground sources of drinking water. Any underground...

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act USC et seq

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as it exists now, is the culmination of a long series of pieces of legislation, dating back to the passage of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, which address the problem of waste disposal. It began with the attempt to control solid waste disposal and eventually evolved into an expression of the national concern with the safe and proper disposal of hazardous waste. Establishing alternatives to existing methods of land...

Environmental Assessment

Environmental considerations were largely ignored for almost 200 years in the development of the United States. Only in the last third of the twentieth century did environmental factors begin to play a significant role in the speed and direction of our national progress. These factors have developed in us a new concern and recognition of the dependence that we, as human beings, have on the long-term viability of the environment for sustaining life. The new ethic of conservation of resources has...

Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act USC et seq

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) revises and extends CERCLA (Superfund authorization). CERCLA is extended by the addition of new authorities known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (also known as Title III of SARA). Title III of SARA provides for emergency planning and preparedness, community right-to-know reporting, and toxic chemical release reporting. This act also establishes a special program within the Department of...

The planning process

Synoptic Planning

Many books and articles have been written on the planning process, which may be of interest to the NEPA practitioner from both the management perspective and the physical, or land-use, perspective. See, for example, Drucker, 1973 Goodman, 1968 Faludi, 1973 Lynch and Hack, 1984 McHarg, 1991. Broadly, the approach to planning often used is the rational comprehensive or synoptic approach, although other approaches exist Hudson, 1979 . Synoptic planning has four elements 1 establish goals, 2...

Pollution Prevention Act of USC et seq

Traditionally, environmental legislation in the United States has focused on an end-of-pipe-control approach for minimizing discharge of pollutants to the environment. By using this approach, considerable progress has been made in reducing the total discharge of pollutants to the environment. However, this often has resulted in transferring pollutants from one medium to another and in many cases is not cost effective. The basic objective of the Pollution Prevention Act is to...

Integrating Art and Science

Nepa Environmental Assessment Template

Environmental assessment, in common with most other complex processes, has elements which represent rigorous scientific endeavor. Some examples might be the analysis of soil or water samples, or the design of a plan to acquire these samples. The selection of instrumentation to measure soil loss or air quality is equally complex, with numerous references, formulas, and guidelines from handbooks and rule books from regulatory agencies. These examples are related to a knowledge of the scientific...

Timing of NEPA review

NEPA and agency planning can come together at three junctures. In the first case, the agency may develop a plan and then perform NEPA reviews on the planning options after the plan is finished. Alternatively, the agency may prepare a NEPA review of a programmatic set of actions, and then prepare a plan to determine how to implement the programmatic decisions. Thirdly, the agency may use the NEPA review process as a basis for developing a plan, including a consideration of alternative courses of...

Case study Scope creep

It is normal for the scope, or details, of a project to change or evolve as designs are finalized, new equipment becomes available, or new technologies are developed. Sometimes, however, many small incremental changes over time can add up to a change in the scope of the project that is large enough to cross a threshold of significance and negate the original NEPA review. A case in point was the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test DARHT Facility, an accelerator-based diagnostic test machine...