Standard Handbook of Environmental Engineering, 2nd Edition, Robert A. Corbitt, 2004 Standard Handbook of Environmental Engineering


Published in: Google Books > Young Adult Nonfiction > environmental engineering | Published on 24/Sep/2019 06:21

1248 pages , Bukupedia , 2004-07-04
Science-based and flexible management approaches are essential to the confirmation of predicted impacts. to ensure that mitigation measures are effective and to modify remediation or mitigation processes if necessary. By accepting more uncertainty in the environmental assessment process and adapting quickly to conditions actually encountered during the project operational phases, agencies may be able to decrease project startup time and reduce overall project costs. The CEQ’s goal is to use the experiences of the first 25 years to streamline and improve the NEPA process. By streamlining the process, the CEQ hopes to make it more efficient, to promote the integration of social, environmental, and economic factors into agency decision making, and to ensure openness in government. Additional information is available through its web site (www. whitehouse.gov/CEQ/). On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the act, the CEQ conducted a reflective study of NEPAs effectiveness and prospects for improvements. Participants in the study included representatives of the original framers of the act and individuals who drafted the CEQ regulations, along with some members of Congress, federal agencies with NEPA implementation experience, state and local agencies, and the public. In addition to evaluating strengths, the participants also considered the potential for improving the current implementation of NEPA, identifying areas “. . . ripe for innovation, re-invention, and improvement” (9) The study concluded that NEPA has been a success because it (1) causes agencies tv examine the environmental consequences of their actions before they make final decisions, and (2) provides a framework for collaboration between the agencies causing the actions and those who will be affected by the consequences (environmental, social, and economic impacts) of their decisions. The participants identified five elements critical to NEPA effectiveness and efficient implementation, and pointed out problem areas associated with each element. Strategic Planning The NEPA process provides a framework for integrating environmental concerns directly into agency internal planning, policies and programs at an early stage. Unfortunately, the process is often either initiated too late to be effective in agency planning and decision making or applied to individual projects instead of evaluating the programs that call for those projects. Agencies then encounter delays, incur increased costs or end up with fewer alternatives available for consideration, thereby denying NEPA its full strategic planning value. Public Information and Input NEPA significantly increased public information and input into agency decision making by opening opportunities for involvement. In many cases, agencies have actively solicited ideas and concerns from the public to improve the quality of projects and reduce adverse impacts on the environment. In others, the desired level of public involvement has not been achieved, with the result being a sense on the part of citizens of dissatisfaction, frustration, and distrust, sometimes leading to litigation. Interagency Coordination NEPA and many subsequent laws have required interagency coordination in an effort to reduce conflicts, reduce duplication of effort, and to improve the environmental planning process. When information is not shared or when processes are uncoordinated, agencies and often the public may be placed in adversarial positions leading to conflicts and delays. Problems are often initiated by conflicting or different timetables, requirements, and modes of public participation. Interdisciplinary, Place-based Approach to Decision Making NEPA calls for an interdisciplinary approach to planning and decision making. When agencies bring the full range of biophysical and socioeconomic factors affecting a single place into their management and planning processes, they are in a position to make better decisions with regard to the needs of the community and minimize adverse impacts on the environment. Difficulties include lack of quality environmental baseline data, lack of early participation by resource agencies, and costs and delays associated with data collection. New tools such as modern computers, internet communications, and geographic information systems hold considerable promise for improvements in this area. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT 10.33 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.digitalengineeringlibrary.com) Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website



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