Environmental Pollution

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  • Topic: Environmental impact assessment, Environmental impact statement, National Environmental Policy Act
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nImproving the Quality of Environmental Documents
A Report of the Joint AASHTO/ACEC Committee in Cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration

May 2006

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Acknowledgments
AASHTO, ACEC, and FHWA gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the task team members who worked on this effort. In addition to the information provided in this guide, a wealth of information compiled by the Education Task Team will be accessible through AASHTO’s Center for Environmental Excellence Web site. Quality and Clarity of NEPA Documents Task Team Team Leader Carol Lee Roalkvam Washington State DOT Brent Jensen Utah DOT Hal Kassoff Parsons Brinckerhoff Don Cote FHWA Resource Center Lindsay Yamane Parametrix, Inc. Jim Horrocks Horrocks Engineering Frank Danchetz ARCADIS Bob Esenwein Turner Collie & Braden Amy Phillips BNA (editorial support)

Legal Sufficiency Task Team Team Leader Lamar S. Smith FHWA Shannon Eggleston Director, Center for Environmental Excellence AASHTO Michael D. Brehm, P.E. Brehm Environmental LLC William G. Malley Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP David S. Mattern Parametrix, Inc Willard (Bill) C. McCartney Michael Baker Jr., Inc. Kathy Ames Illinois DOT Lawrence (Lance) P. Hanf FHWA Megan Stanley PB Consult Jack Gilbert FHWA Office of Chief Counsel Robert Downie, Florida DOT Harold Aikens FHWA Office of the Chief Counsel Bill Hauser New Hampshire DOT Michelle W. Fishburne LOCHNER

Education Task Team Team Leader Tim Hill Ohio DOT Andrea Stevenson Ohio DOT Dianna Noble John Page Parsons Brinckerhoff Susan Killen Parsons Brinckerhoff Lisa Zeimer Parsons Brinckerhoff Caron Kloser HNTB John Mettille Wilbur-Smith Jerry Stump Wilbur-Smith Pamela Stephenson FHWA Kimberly Majerus FHWA

Texas DOT
Carolyn Ismart Florida DOT

ii

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 1.2 1.3 What is the joint AASHTO/ACEC/FHWA Initiative on Improving the Quality of NEPA Documents? .........................................................................................................................1 Why do we need to improve NEPA documents? ...............................................................2 What is a quality NEPA document?....................................................................................3

Chapter 2 Core Principles for Improving the Quality of NEPA Documents 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 5.1 5.1.1 5.1.2 5.1.3 5.1.4 5.2 5.2.1 5.2.2 5.3 5.3.1 5.3.2 What are the core principles for quality NEPA Documents? ..............................................4 How do you tell the story of the project? ............................................................................4 How do you keep the document brief?................................................................................6 How do you ensure that the document meets all legal requirements in a way that is easy to follow for regulators and technical reviewers? ...............................................................6 What are some of the benefits of applying the core principles?..........................................9 How can agencies better organize their environmental documents?.................................11 How will the content be different than traditional NEPA documents? .............................14 What is the recommended process to produce a quality NEPA document?......................14 What should be considered regarding document production?...........................................15 What are some alternative approaches to formatting NEPA documents?.........................16 When are alternative NEPA document formats appropriate? ...........................................16 What are the benefits of developing alternative formats for NEPA documents?..............17 What is FHWA policy on alternative formats? .................................................................17 Are there other options for...
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