Am I Adequate? A Spatial and Temporal Evaluation of EPA Ratings of Draft EISs David Batts email@example.com Kate Wynant firstname.lastname@example.org
Time to Prepare NEPA Documents Objectives: Compare time to prepare an EIS by different agencies Methods: Collect dates of publication for NOI, DEIS, FEIS and ROD Questions: Do some agencies move quickly from DEIS to FEIS? Do different agencies prepare EIS documents along different time lines? Questions not answered: Are time differences due to different technical challenges (e.g. SHPO consultations); political challenges (e.g. highway projects have great public involvement) or institutional challenges (e.g. are some agencies less likely to foresee technical, political, or institutional issues and therefore their projects take longer)
Challenges EPA maintains database of DEIS and FEIS but not NOI or ROD dates EPA database does not specifically track/link DEIS and FEIS; therefore EPA data was imported into a database and re-analyzed NOI and ROD data was gathered from FR publications; time consuming process; greater potential for error NOI project title does not always match DEIS or FEIS project title NOI / DEIS / FEIS / ROD documents do not have unique tracking numbers (unlike California CEQA projects which have a unique number assigned by the state clearinghouse); NOIs can be issued far in advance or a project; or issued then withdrawn and issued again.
Results Elapsed Time NOI to FEIS 2005-2006 FEIS dates; ~450 data points; 90% of NOI publication dates included Some agencies had few data points (*); i.e. few FEIS issued during period; data from these agencies unlikely to be representative
Results Elapsed Time DEIS to FEIS 1997-2006; EPA Database DEIS and FEIS dates that were both not within period were excluded (so some preparation times may be longer); approximately 2500 data points)
Other things we found along the way…. Only about 50% of EIS are on the Web. Posting of EIS documents to internet varies widely; some agencies do not upload at all Some centralized systems (aka dockets) are not user friendly for the level prescribed by NEPA. Frequent problems: servers time out; docket numbers were incorrect; document results were retrieved but not the NOI, DEIS, or FEIS; so many search results were returned that finding the correct document would be difficult for the general public It would be beneficial if the following was required: All documents uploaded to the internet for viewing url location listed in each FR publication CEQ maintained a link to each url Unique coding for EISs.
Rating system for environmental effects LO –Lack of objections EC –Environmental concerns EO –Environmental objections EU –Environmentally unsatisfactory Rating system for Draft EIS Adequacy 1– Adequate 2 – Insufficient Information 3– Inadequate EPA’s Rating System (EIS)
Research Questions: • Myth bust: 20% of DEISs get LO • Have the percentage of LOs changed over time or correspond to Presidential administrations? • Are there differences in the percentage of LOs by EPA region? • Research Methods: • Reviewed FR 1995 – 2006 • Almost 2,800 data points
Percent of EPA Ratings EC LO EO EU
What Does EPA Say? Region 8: • Not many government agencies write EISs • More time to get involved earlier with those that do • Region has less federally regulated land than other regions • More development • Difficult to do a project without environmental concerns
What Does EPA Say? Region 6: • Most projects are Army Corps of Engineers projects • Don’t have significant environmental effects • Try to work with agencies early to minimize the environmental damage