Thursday, June 2, 2011

What Should Be Included In An Environmental Impact Statement?

Cover of the United States Department of the I...                              Image via WikipediaBy Wendy Moyer

If a project is potentially environmentally significant and if it is federally controlled, then an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required by the National Environmental Policy Act. A project is federally controlled if it is undertaken by the federal government or if it requires federal funding or federal licensing.

Whenever such a project or a program is planned there could be potential environmental impacts. The impact of these projects can have a profound effect on the general public. If the federal government will fund the proposed projects then these potential impacts have to be detailed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

An EIS is a report that is an outline of any predicted environmental effects that a particular project or action may incur. These statements must be accurate. They often are referred to in matters of environmental litigation and environmental regulation.

An environmental impact statement of an activity will highlight any of the significant ramifications the activity or project will have on the environment. It also describes alternative actions and must also include an analysis of what will happen if no action is taken.

Section 102(2) (C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (PL91-190) requires that all federal agencies have to consider any of the most likely environmental effects their programs and projects may incur.

What Should You Include In An Environmental Impact Statement?

An EIS for a proposed project should outline the details of the actions that are proposed, any alternative actions that should be considered (including no action), and whatever environmental ramifications are probable. All of the plausible results are usually determined by the rule of reason. This rule refers to what activity a "reasonable person" would feel is significant enough to warrant any further discussion.

In addition, an EIS must provide information on the probable impact of any alternative actions that are not in the jurisdiction of the responsible agency.

The Council on Environmental Quality has established guidelines for environmental statements. Although the requirements for an EIS will vary from one situation to the next, here are the most pertinent factors to consider. The guideline should:

• Consider both indirect as well as direct effects of the project
• Show whether the project will interfere with other activities
• Indicate the resource and energy requirements of the project
• Consider the reparation and conservation potential
• Indicate ways that will minimize whatever damage might ensue
• Preserve the historic, urban, and cultural quality of the area

You can learn more about environmental impact statements through various environmental courses that are available online.

And to find out more about Environmental Courses go to

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