Tools for Efficient NEPA


Description

Participants in this intermediate-advanced level workshop will learn techniques to add efficiency in implementing the NEPA process. As NEPA practitioners are aware, a long-standing frequent criticism of NEPA is that it “takes too long, and costs too much.” In recent years, calls to address this criticism have increased markedly, and there has been an influx of new administration and internal agency policies and legislative proposals targeting expediting of the NEPA process. A number of these proposals include substantially shortening time limits for completion of NEPA reviews and setting maximum page limits Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). This workshop will first provide a comprehensive review of NEPA basics followed by techniques and best practices for improving NEPA efficiency. A range of agency best practices in improving project management, scoping, decision making, proposal scope and scale, adaptive management, interagency coordination processes, and writing, will be discussed, drawing from CEQ Regulations and Guidance, NEPA Case Law, and federal agency case studies. Agency-specific tailored workshops will concentrate on specific efficiencies tied to the agency’s NEPA policies and procedures.

Objectives

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 NEPA process efficiency
  • 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 studies
  • Use writing and document organization techniques to prepare more useful and compliant NEPA analyses

Content

We tailor each workshop to meet the needs of the participants. The basic format of the interactive workshop includes the following components:

  • Unit 1: Existing Statutory and Regulatory Requirements and Guidance on Producing More Efficient NEPA Reviews
  • Unit 2: Approaches and Techniques for Improving the Efficiency of the NEPA   Process
  • Unit 3: Overview of Case Law and Lessons Learned
  • Unit 4: Project Case Studies and Lessons Learned

Audience

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.

Process

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

Materials

Participants receive the following:

  • Presentation handouts
  • Student reference manual
  • Case study handouts