Annual National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Report for 2015
The National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), a non-profit professional society dedicated to excellence in the environmental professions, has recently released their Annual National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Report 2015. The NEPA Annual Report—which is prepared by volunteer professional members of the NAEP NEPA Practice—is a unique compilation of data on the current state of NEPA compliance. NAEP provides the Annual Report at no cost to agency NEPA Liaisons and to NAEP members.
In 2015, announcements of 381 Draft, Final, and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) were published in the Federal Register. This total is similar to the 384 EISs announced in 2014. U.S. Forest Service (USFS) published the most documents with 71 (19% of total), followed by the Bureau of Land Management (40/10%), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (40/10%), Federal Highway Administration (23/6%) and National Park Service (17/4%). (Based on information in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database of EISs; http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/nepa/eisdata.html).
The NEPA Annual Report also found that 194 Final EISs were made available in 2015. The average time to prepare those EISs (measured from Notice of Intent to Final EIS) was 5.0 years. Sixteen percent of EISs were prepared in two years or less.
In 2015, the U.S. Courts of Appeal issued 14 substantive decisions involving implementation of NEPA. The 14 cases involved 11 different departments and agencies, with the agencies prevailing in 79 percent of the cases.
This year’s Guest Editorial is from Horst Greczmiel. Mr. Greczmiel recently retired after serving 17 years as Associate Director for NEPA Oversight at the Council of Environmental Quality. Mr. Greczmiel reiterates the role of NEPA in sound decisionmaking and the need to protect and strengthen its most valuable aspects. These aspects include public involvement and careful consideration of reasonable alternatives.
The 2015 NEPA Annual Report also includes:
- “Just the Stats” on the EPA review and comments on EISs;
- Preparation Times for Environmental Impact Statements Made Available in 2015;
- Recent NEPA Cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeal;
- Recent Congressional Legislation Regarding NEPA.
The 2015 NEPA Annual Report is available at no cost to NAEP members. NAEP also provides copies to Federal NEPA liaisons. To join NAEP please click here.
Past issues of the NAEP NEPA Annual Report are available on the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) website at https://ceq.doe.gov/nepa_information/ngos.html