Tools for Efficient NEPA


Participants in this intermediate-advanced level workshop will learn techniques to improve their efficiency in implementing the NEPA process. As NEPA practitioners are aware, a long-standing and frequent criticism of NEPA is that it, “takes too long, and costs too much.” Measures to address these concerns have included new administration and internal agency policies, and legislative proposals to expedite the NEPA process. The two main focuses of these efforts are implementing timelines to substantially shortening completion of NEPA reviews; and, setting maximum page limits for Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). This workshop begins with a comprehensive review of NEPA basics, followed by techniques and best practices to improve agencies’ efficiency in completing the NEPA process. A range of best practices includes improving project management, scoping, decision making, defining proposal scope and scale, adaptive management, interagency coordination processes, and writing, will be discussed.  We will draw on information from CEQ Regulations and guidance, NEPA case law, and federal agency case studies. Agency-specific tailored workshops will concentrate on the agency’s NEPA policies and procedures and specific techniques to improve efficiencies tied to them.


Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Understand the existing statutory and regulatory policies regarding page limits, time limits, and other relevant aspects of NEPA document preparation.

  • Apply approaches and techniques for improving the efficiency of the NEPA process.

  • Use lessons from recent case law to prepare NEPA documents in a more efficient manner.

  • Use the scoping process and improved interagency cooperation to improve the efficiency of NEPA reviews.

  • Use writing and document organization techniques to prepare more useful and compliant NEPA analyses and documents.


The basic format of the interactive workshop includes the following components:

  • Unit 1: Review existing statutory and regulatory requirements and guidance on achieving efficient NEPA reviews.

  • Unit 2: Identify approaches and techniques for improving the efficiency of the NEPA process.

  • Unit 3: Examine case law and lessons learned from agencies’ efforts to improve the efficiency of their NEPA process.

  • Unit 4: Complete a project using case studies and lessons learned.


Participants for this training generally include resource specialists, team leaders, decisionmakers, writers and editors, and other agency professionals who already have some NEPA experience and must understand the existing and changing law, policies, procedures and guidance related to efforts to improve the efficiency of the NEPA process to fully execute their responsibilities.


This is an interactive workshop designed to build an overall understanding of the process. For optimum learning, class size is limited to between 15 and 25 participants. This workshop consists of a carefully designed combination of the following:

  • 30% Lecture

  • 30% Discussion

  • 40% Exercises and Case Studies


Participants receive the following:

  • Presentation handouts

  • Student reference manual

  • Case study handouts