r  	^ he Congress, recognizing the profound
      I   impact of man's activity on the
     JL  interrelations of all components  of the
natural environment, particularly the profound
influences of population growth, high-density
urbanization, industrial expansion,  resource ex-
ploitation and new and expanding technological
advances, and recognizing further the critical
importance of restoring and maintaining
environmental quality to the overall welfare and
development of man, declares that it is the
continuing policy of the Federal Government,
in cooperation with State and local governments,
and other concerned public and private
organizations, to use all practicable means and
measures, including financial and technical
assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and
promote the general welfare, to create and
maintain conditions under which man and  nature
can exist in  productive harmony, and fulfill the
social, economic and other requirements of
present and  future generations of Americans."


How It Started
          On January 1, 1970, the President signed
           into law the National Environmental
           Policy Act (NEPA), which declared a
    national policy to encourage productive and
    enjoyable harmony between man and his
       In signing the bill, the President remarked
    that it was  particularly fitting as his first official
    act of the new decade not only  because it
    gave disparate Federal environmental efforts
    organization and direction, but because,
    "the 1970's absolutely must be  the years when
    America pays its debt to the past by
    reclaiming  the purity of its air, its waters  and
    our living environment. It is literally now
    or never."
       NEPA established in the Executive Office of
    the President  a Council on Environmental
    Quality (CEQ), charged with responsibility to
    study the condition of the Nation's environment,
    to develop  new environmental programs and
    policies, to coordinate the wide  array of
    Federal environmental efforts, to see that all
    Federal activities take environmental con-
    siderations into account and to assist the
    President in assessing environmental problems
    and in determining ways to solve them.
       To ensure  that environmental amenities and
    values are  given systematic consideration
    equal to economic and technical considerations
    in the Federal decision-making process,
    NEPA requires each Federal agency to  prepare
    a statement of environmental impact in advance
    of each major action, recommendation  or report
    on legislation that may significantly affect the
    quality of the human environment. Such actions
    may include new highway  construction, harbor
    dredging or filling, nuclear power plant  con-
    struction, large-scale aerial pesticide spraying,
    river channeling, new jet runways, munitions
    disposal, bridge construction and  more.
 What is an  Environmental  Impact Statement?
A           environmental impact statement is the
           heart of a Federal administrative
           process designed to ensure achievement
    of national environmental goals. Each statement
    must assess in detail the potential environmental

    impact of a proposed action, and all Federal
    agencies are required to prepare statements for
    matters under their jurisdiction.
      As early in the decision-making process as
    possible, and in all cases  prior to agency
    decision, an agency prepares a draft statement
    for review by appropriate Federal,  State and
    local environmental agencies as well as the
    public. After comment from the agencies and
    interested parties, the statement is prepared
    in final form, incorporating all comments  and
    objections received on the draft and indicating
    how  significant  issues raised during the
    commenting process have been resolved. Both
    draft and final statement arc filed with CEQ and
    made available to the public.
      Impact statements are  popularly called 102
    statements, an abbreviated term for NEPA's
    Section 102(2) (C) which requires them.
Purpose of the  Statement
       """he statement's primary purpose is to
         disclose the environmental conse-
         quences of a proposed action, thus
    alerting the agency decision-maker, the public
    and ultimately Congress and the President to
    the environmental risks involved. An important
    and intended consequence of this is to build
    into a Federal agency's decision-making
    process a continuing consciousness of environ-
    mental considerations. This, in turn,  ensures
    to the fullest extent possible that the agency
    directs its policies, plans and programs so as
    to meet national environmental goals.
What Actions  Must  Statements  Cover?
     r^he actions for which agencies must
      1  prepare impact statements must be
      *  "major''  and "environmentally
    significant," such  as:
      1.  Agency  recommendations on their own
          proposals for legislation.
      2.  Agency  reports on legislation initiated
          elsewhere but  concerning subject  matter
          for which the agency has primary
      3.  Projects  and continuing  activities  which
          may  be
          a.  undertaken directly by  an agency;

         b.  supported in whole or in part through
             Federal contracts, grants, subsidies,
             loans or other forms of funding
             assistance; or
         c.  part of  a Federal lease, permit,
             license,  certificate or other entitle-
             ment for use.
      4. Decisions of policy, regulation and
      All of the following actions are considered
    major and/or environmentally significant.
      1. Actions whose impact is significant and
         highly controversial on  environmental
      2. Actions which are precedents for much
         larger actions which may have consider-
         able environmental  impact.
      3. Actions which are decisions in principle
         about major future courses of action.
      4. Actions which are major because of the
         involvement of several Federal agencies,
         even though a particular agency's indi-
         vidual action is not major.
      5. Actions whose impact includes envi-
         ronmentally beneficial as well as envi-
         ronmentally detrimental effects.
Contents  of the Statement
    ~T"1 ach environmental impact statement
          must include:
      1.   A detailed description of the proposed
    action including information and technical data
    adequate to permit a careful assessment of
    environmental impact.
      2.   Discussion of the probable impact on the
    environment,  including any impact on
    ecological systems and any direct or indirect
    consequences that may result from the action.
      3.   Any adverse environmental effects that
    cannot be avoided.
      4.   Alternatives to the proposed action that
    might avoid some or all of the adverse
    environmental effects, including analysis of
    costs and environmental impacts of these
      5.   An assessment of the cumulative,
    long-term effects of the proposed action includ-
    ing its  relationship to short-term use of
    the environment versus the environment's
    long-term productivity.

      6. Any irreversible or irretrievable commit-
    ment of resources that might result from the
    action or which would curtail beneficial use of
    the environment.
      A final impact statement must include
    a discussion of problems and objections
    raised by other Federal,  State and local
    agencies, private  organizations and individuals
    during the draft statement's review process.

What Does a Statement  Look Like?
A           environmental impact statement
          may consist of a few pages or a
          few hundred pages depending on the
    complexity of the proposed  action under
    review. Each statement ordinarily is introduced
    by a summary sheet suggesting the nature
    of  its contents; e.g.:
          Environmental Impact Statement
    Draft ___	Final 	
    Name of responsible or principal agency
    and appropriate operating division.
      1.  Administrative action	
    Legislative  action	
      2.  Brief description of action, indicating
    States and counties particularly affected.
      3.  Summary of environmental  impact and
    adverse  environmental affects.
      4.  List of alternatives considered.
      5.  For draft statement, a list of all
    Federal, State and local agencies from which
    comments have been requested.
          For final statement, a list of  all
    Federal, State and local agencies and other
    sources  from which written comments have
    been received.
      6.  Dates draft and final statements are filed
    with CEQ and made available to the public.

When  is  a  Statement  Prepared?
A          raft statement must be prepared and
          circulated for comment at least 90 days
          before the proposed action.  A final
    statement must be  made  public at least
    30 days before the  proposed action. Any
    agency unable to meet these requirements must
    consult  with  CEQ.
      Each  agency must identify at what stage or
    stages in a series of actions relating to a
    particular matter, that an  environmental impact

   statement will be prepared. Often it may
   be necessary to write a statement both in the
   development of  a national program and in the
   review of proposed projects within a national
   program. A duplicate clearance process is
   not always mandatory, but when actions being
   considered differ significantly from those
   that have been reviewed already, a new
   statement should be written.
     It is the responsibility of each agency to
   obtain views of other agencies and interested
   parties at the earliest feasible time in the devel-
   opment of program and project proposals.
     To the maximum extent practicable, impact
   statements must be prepared for continuing
   major Federal actions significantly affecting the
   environment even though they arise from
   projects or programs initiated prior to enact-
   ment  of NEPA. Where it is not practicable,
   it is still  important that further incremental
   actions be shaped to minimize adverse
   environmental consequences and to account
   for environmental consequences  not fully
   evaluated at the outset of a project or program.
     The greatest use should be made of existing
   interagency and intergovernmental review
How Does an  Agency  Prepare  a Statement?
          NEPA directs  each agency to establish
           procedures for dealing with environ-
           mental impact statements, those pre-
    pared inhouse and those reviewed for comment.
      Agency procedures  must:
      1.  Identify those agency actions requiring
    environmental statements.
      2.  Designate the appropriate time prior to
    decision to seek comments of other agencies.
      3.  Describe the mechanisms through which
    statements are to be made available to
    the  public.
      4.  Specify general methods for obtaining
    information required in the preparation
    of  a statement.
      5.  Designate officials responsible for
      6.  Establish  patterns for consulting with
    and taking into  account  the comments of other
    agencies, particularly EPA.
      7.  Provide for timely public announcement

    of plans and programs with environmental
      NEPA goes a step beyond  requiring new
    actions to be environmentally  sound by
    directing all  Federal agencies to review their
    present statutory authority, administrative
    regulations and current policies and procedures
    for the purpose of determining whether there
    are any  deficiencies or inconsistencies therein
    which prohibit full  compliance  with the Act.
    Still further,  agencies must propose "such
    measures as  may be necessary  to bring their
    authority and policies into conformity with the
    intent, purposes and procedures set forth
    in this Act."
      In other words, agencies must not only begin
    to meet NEPA requirements  for decisions
    yet unmade,  but must seek to realign their
    standard operating procedures with national
    environmental goals.
Who  Reviews  Each  Statement?
          NEPA requires each Federal agency to
           "consult with and obtain the comments
           of any other agency  (including State
    and local as well as Federal) which has
    jurisdiction by law or special expertise with
    respect to any environmental impact involved"
    in an impact statement.
      In its guidelines for preparing statements,
    CEQ lists  the  agencies  which must be con-
    sulted on this basis in the following areas:
      air quality and air pollution control
      weather modification
      environmental aspects of electric energy gener-
      ation and transmission
      natural gas  energy  development, generation
      and transmission
      toxic materials
      transportation and handling of hazardous
      coastal areas:  wetlands,  estuaries, waterfowl
      refuges and beaches
      historic and archeological sites
      flood plains and watersheds
      mineral land reclamation

     parks, forests and outdoor recreational areas
     soil and plant  life, sedimentation, erosion and
      hydrologic conditions
     noise control and abatement
     chemical contamination of food products
     food additives and food sanitation
     microbiological contamination
     radiation and radiological health
     sanitation and waste systems
     shellfish sanitation
     transportation  and  air quality
     transportation  and  water quality
     congestion in urban areas, housing and
      building displacement
     environmental effects with special impact on
      low-income neighborhoods
     rodent control
     urban planning
     water quality and water pollution control
     marine pollution
     river and canal regulation and stream
      The guidelines  also require draft statements
   to be made available for public comment. Many
   individual agency procedures allow for direct
   solicitation of such comments from interested
   parties and private organizations.
      If an agency is  in doubt as to the proper
   recipients of its request for comments, CEQ
   will advise on an  appropriate routing.

The  Role of CEQ
         CEQ is the central Federal force behind
          the impact statement process. CEQ as-
          sists other agencies whenever and wher-
   ever necessary in determining the applicability of
   NEPA to agency  actions and in promulgating
   agency procedures to  meet NEPA requirements.
   CEQ also assists  in resolving any  conflicts that
   may arise.
      The Council's role  is a coordinating one; it
   is not a commenting agency in the sense that
   its comments are  attached to impact state-
   ments. Thus no inference of either approval or
   disapproval is to be drawn from CEQ's failure
   to comment on either draft or final statements.

   As long as a statement is made available to
   CEQ, that agency will be able to fulfill its role
   of internal adviser to the Executive Branch
   and to the President as contemplated
   by NEPA.
      CEQ's guidelines for preparing 102 state-
   ments on proposed Federal actions affecting the
   environment were issued April 23, 1971 in  the
   Federal Register.
The  Role of  EPA
         EPA reviews environmental impact state-
          ments touching any aspect of its re-
          sponsibilities centering around air and
   water pollution, drinking water supplies, solid
   waste, pesticides, radiation and noise. In
   addition to reviewing statements filed by
   Federal agencies, EPA frequently reviews
   statements filed by States and other jurisdic-
   tions as a technical service.
      Periodically, EPA lists in the Federal Regis-
   ter statements it has reviewed and commented
   on, coding the nature of its comments. The
   code generally indicates endorsement of the
   proposed action, request for more information
   to determine environmental damage or objec-
   tion to the action on environmental grounds.
      EPA's obligation to review proposed Fed-
   erally supported actions extends beyond that of
   other agencies because of its role as the principal
   Federal regulator of pollution control matters.
      Under Section 309 of the Clean Air
   Act, EPA must "review and comment in
   writing on the environmental impact" of any
   legislation, action or regulation proposed  by
   any Federal agency if it affects  matters related
   to EPA's jurisdiction. If EPA determines
   that any proposed activity is unsatisfactory
   from the standpoint of public health or welfare
   or environmental quality, that determination
   must be published and the matter referred
   to CEQ.
      EPA notifies the public of these comments
   in the same manner that notification is made
   of comments on impact statements. Generally,
   EPA has no authority to stop a project
   sponsored by another Federal agency; it
   acts only in an advisory capacity to other
   agencies, CEQ and the President.


Impact  Statements  and the  Public
         The impact statement procedure affords
          the public an opportunity to participate
          in Federal decisions that may affect the
    human environment. Each draft statement
    must be made public by the responsible
    agency at the time it is circulated for com-
    ment, a date not less than 90 days before the
    proposed  action. Comments must be made
    available also, and the final statement must
    include a discussion of the objections and
    problems  raised in comments on the draft. The
    final statement must be made public at least
    30 days prior to the proposed action.
      Statements  are announced in the Federal
    Register,  although many agencies have
    supplementary procedures to reach interested
    citizens. EPA, for example, generally notifies
    the press  (1) when a  decision is reached to
    issue an impact statement, (2) when a draft
    or final statement is prepared and  (3) when
    comments on  other agencies' statements are
    issued. Interested parties may view EPA's own
    impact statements or EPA's comments on the
    statements of other agencies by contacting EPA
    headquarters in Washington, D.C. or any of its
    ten  regional offices. The agency welcomes public
      EPA does not distribute impact statements
    prepared  by other agencies. These are available
    directly from the agencies bearing primary
      Interested people may submit comments to
    agencies on any impact statement issued by
    them. If an individual believes a draft state-
    ment to be inadequate,  he may offer written
    comments on the draft. If he believes the
    disposition of his comment in the final
    statement to be inadequate, he may so notify
    the  agency  involved and inform CEQ.
    In addition to these mechanisms for public
    participation, many agencies provide for public
    hearings  not only at various stages during the
    performance of their  statutory missions but
    during the impact statement process itself.
      The importance of the role citizens play in
    the  impact statement  process has been recog-
    nized by the courts. In many cases,
    the  courts have  upheld  the right, or standing,
    of citizens to sue on environmental grounds.

Impact  Statements and  the Courts
          By  September 1972 more than 200 cases had
          been filed against Federal agencies in
          courts throughout the nation  alleging vio-
    lation of NEPA's Section 102(2) (C). Initially,
    cases involved suits to  require the writing of
    statements which agencies had deemed
    unnecessary, often because of confusion over
    the application of NEPA to projects begun
    before the Act was passed. More recent cases
    show a trend toward suits that assert the
    insufficiency of statements already written.
      Cases have been filed in widely varying
    factual situations. Precise direction  is difficult
    to discern from the varied rulings, but two of
    the most important decisions rendered by the
    U.S. District Court of  Appeals indicate some
    of the issues courts are considering.
      In Calvert Cliffs (Md.) Coordinating Com-
    mittee v. AEC, the Court ordered the Atomic
    Energy Commission to give more complete
    attention to the environment  in its internal
    review process. Not only did  the Court order
    AEC to consider halting construction of nuclear
    generating plants while environmental factors
    are being examined, including the backfitting of
    technological innovations, the Court also refused
    to permit AEC to accept State or Federal agency
    certification of water quality,  instead of making
    its own assessment. In  this decision, the
    Court interpreted NEPA as a mandate to
    achieve a finely tuned  and systematically
    balanced analysis in each instance of envi-
    ronment impact.
      The Court broadened even further the range
    of considerations that must be weighed in
    Federal projects by ruling in Natural Resources
    Defense Council v.  Morton that the  Department
    of the Interior must discuss all reasonable
    alternatives to a proposed action whether
    or not such alternatives come within the direct
    control of that particular department.  The
    case involved a lease sale of offshore oil in the
    Gulf of Mexico. In its ruling,  the Court wrote
    that Interior should have given greater
    consideration to potential alternatives to the
    lease sale, including increased nuclear energy
    development, Federal legislation or adminis-
    trative action to obtain State-controlled off-
    shore oil  and changing  the Federal Power
    Commission's natural gas pricing policies.


What's  Happening?
      f "he impact statement process has been
      |  designed to build into Federal thinking
     -"*- an environmental concern not hereto-
    fore implemented on a meaningful scale.
    Just as court interpretations of NEPA are
    increasing general public environmental aware-
    ness, changes are being wrought within the
    structure of the Federal Government that will
    have profound influence on future Federal
      Half of all environmental impact statements
    have been written for roadbuilding actions,
    and a number of planning changes are
    apparent. Examples include increased land-
    scaping and the creation of hiking and bicycle
    trails along roadways.
      After roadbuilding, the second largest
    number of statements have been prepared for
    watershed protection and flood control
    projects. A portion  of these come under the
    jurisdiction of the U.S.  Army Corps of
    Engineers. Since NEPA was enacted, the Corps
    not only has established several citizen environ-
    mental  advisory committees but has increased
    its interdisciplinary environmental staff by
    adding  recreation resource planners, landscape
    architects, biologists and foresters. As a direct
    result of NEPA's review process a number of
    projects have been suspended and many more
    have been modified.
      As an example, in March 1972, a draft
    impact  statement was prepared for a proposed
    1760-foot pier for ocean research which would
    extend  into the Atlantic from Maryland's
    Assateaguc Island National  Seashore. The area
    is one of the few remaining natural barriers
    along the nation's eastern coastline in public
    ownership. Because of the  many opposing com-
    ments on the statement, the Corps cancelled all
    construction plans.
      Another project  cancelled was a proposed
    dredging operation  to improve safety for
    barge crossings  in the Gulf Intracoastal
    Waterway from Carrabelle to St. Marks  River,
    Fla. The project was suspended when it was
    determined that the dredging would adversely
    affect the natural habitat of shellfish and other
    fish in  the area.
       Stimulated partly by the NEPA process, the
    Department of Housing and Urban Development

    is rewriting its minimum design standards
    for family dwellings to include improved
    insulation to reduce energy consumption,
    better control of erosion, sedimentation and
    siltation at individual homesites, and acoustic
    materials that will reduce excessive noise.
       Problems have arisen, however, on projects
    that were nearing the construction phase or
    were under construction when NEPA was
    passed. In many situations the substantial
    commitment of resources makes it difficult and
    expensive to modify such projects to minimize
    adverse environmental effects. Nevertheless,
    as environmental considerations are integrated
    into agencies' plans in the future such
    problems can be avoided by formulating
    projects at the outset in a pattern that will
    reduce adverse  effects.
Trends in State and Local Governments
Rcognizing the need for broader consid-
           eration of environmental consequences
           at an early date, a number of states
    have passed statutes requiring environmental
    impact statements on state actions analogous
    to the statements required of Federal agencies
    by NEPA. These states include California,
    Washington, Delaware, Montana, Wisconsin,
    North Carolina and Indiana as well as the Com-
    monwealth of Puerto Rico. Hawaii, also, has
    implemented impact statement requirements
    through Executive Order, and Arizona requires
    similar statements with respect to fish and
    game interests.
       Similar action is under consideration by
    Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky,
    Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma
    and New Mexico.
       All in all, important innovations in federal
    and state environmental regulations are taking
    place. At both levels, the pace of new institu-
    tional development in  environmental man-
    agement has quickened beyond expectation.
    The reader is free to quote or reproduce any part
      of this publication without further permission.

              Written by Carolyn Harris


    U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency
           Washington,  D.C. 20460
Regional Offices
Boston,  Massachusetts

New York, New York

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Dallas, Texas 75201

Kansas City, Missouri

Denver, Colorado 80203
San Francisco, California
Seattle, Washington
States covered
Connecticut, Maine,
Massachusetts,  New
Hampshire, Rhode  Island
New Jersey, New York
Puerto Rico, Virgin

Delaware, Maryland
Pennsylvania, Virginia
West Virginia,  D.C.
Alabama, Florida,
Georgia,  Kentucky,
North  Carolina,
South Carolina,
Illinois, Indiana,
Michigan, Minnesota,
Ohio, Wisconsin
Arkansas, Louisiana,
New Mexico, Oklahoma,
Iowa, Kansas,
Missouri, Nebraska
Colorado, Montana,
North  Dakota,
South  Dakota,
Utah,  Wyoming
Arizona, California,
Hawaii, Nevada,
American Samoa, Guam,
Trust Territories of the
Pacific, Wake Island
Alaska, Idaho,
Oregon, Washington
                   SEPTEMBER 1972
            WASHINGTON, D. C. 20460