ENS 550 Environmental Impact Analysis    Spring 2007
T/Th 3:30- 4:50 PM   319 Marshall Hall                last updated 4/12/07

 Prof. John Felleman   108B Marshall      
Office Hrs:   M  11:40-12:30 , T/Th  11-12:20
  felleman@esf.edu         www.esf.edu/es/felleman                             

  Schedule        Objectives        Workload         Grading     


Following World War II, the U.S. went on one of the largest building booms in the history of the world. Interstate highways, dams, nuclear power plants, suburban sprawl, and urban renewal were all embraced as "progress". Government and private sector activities jointly fueled this transformation. By the late 1960's it became clear that uncontrolled development was causing severe environmental degradation. Widespread public outcry led to two complementary types of legislative response. A number of topical regulatory programs were created to address specific issues, such as Clean Air, Super Fund (hazardous waste), and Endangered Species protection. The other response was to view the environment holistically and to establish an integrated, participatory process for improving public decisions. This second approach is the basis of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). The heart of both NEPA and SEQR is the Environmental Impact Assessment process (EIA).

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course shoudents should have tha capacity to:

1. Demonstrate comprehension of the historical and legal basis for Environmental Impact Analysis, and its roles in public decision- making;

2. Identify the key stages of, and participants in the three alternative tracks used in EIA under the federal NEPA, and the NY State Environmental Quality Review Act;

3. Understand the basic methodologies used in forecasting and predicting impacts from projects and associated mitigations; and

       4. Critically discuss emerging EIA issues.

1. Students are expected to attend classes, review readings BEFORE class, bring the assigned readings to class, and actively participate in discussions. 

The required text : Bass (2001). The NEPA Book. Point Arena, CA. Solano Press is available at Follet's Orange Book Store in the Marshall Sq. Mall. This will be supplemented by class handouts and web site resources. Following each class, this web site will be revised to identify the key terms and concepts which may show up on an exam.

2. There will be two course exams.
3. There will be two out of class team projects: a comprehensive review of an existing EIS; and a SEQR EAF for a hypothetical project.

    25% Exam 1 

    25% Exam 2 

    30% Team EIS Review 

    20% Team SEQR EAF

  Schedule (updated weekly on the web):

Readings; Assignments; Terms

I.  EIS Framework
 Web Resources
T 1/16
Intro; Historical Context
 Power Point
Th 1/18
 NEPA- the Law
Text: Appendix A   NEPA
 Web Resources
T 1/ 23
Public Sector Decisions:
   Public lands management;
   Construction Projects
Web Resources
Th  1/25
Public/Private Sector Decisions:
  regulations and permits
Assignment #1 Handout
 Web Resources
T 1/30
NEPA's Evolution    Text Ch. 1
Th 2/1
Traige I: Does NEPA Apply?
*  Assignment 1 Due
Text Ch. 2; NEPA; CEQ Regs
  Web Resources
  Class F.R. Handout
T 2/6
Triage II: EA and FONSI
Text Ch. 3; NEPA; CEQ Regs
Th  2/8
Triage III:EIS Preparation and Review
Text Ch.4; NEPA; CEQ Regs
  Web Resources
T 2/13
* EXAM 1

II. EIS Content

2/ 15
Summary; Purpose & Need

Some EISs To Consider For Team Project
Text p. 76, 87-91, 121-126
CEQ Regs. 1502.6-1502.13
Handout: Shipley p. 24-31
Web Resources       Terms/Concepts
T 2/20
Proposed Action, Alternatives

Team EIS Review Handout

Text p. 90-98, 246,  FAQ#1-5
 CEQ Regs. 1502.14
Handout: Shipley p. 41-57
Web Resources    Terms/Concepts
 2/ 22
Affected Environment
Text p.56-58; 98-100; CEQ Regs.: 1502.15, 1508.3, 1508.8,  1508.14
T 2/ 27
Forecasts, Predictions, and Models
Text p. 111-112
handouts: Karplus; TR-55 Runoff
 Web Resources    Terms/Concepts 
Th  3/1
Consequences: Physical
 Team EIS Task 1 Due
Web Resources
handouts: Moran in Sarewitz
T  3/6
Consequences: Socio/Economic
 Handout: Dziegielewski; Wilson; Henderson
Terms and Concepts
Web Resources       
Th  3/8

Team EIS Prelim. Submission
Text p. 117-9; 40CFR 1502.16(h),1508.20
FAQ #19,  #39, #40
Handout: NAEP 2001 Conference
Terms and Concepts
Web Resources

 Spring Break

T 3/20

Hand back Prelim. Reports
Exam Q/A
Text p. 80-3, 120-1, 166-169;
 FAQ #6 #29,  #30, #34
 40CFR 1502.9(b),1503,1505, 1506.1
Web Resources
Terms and Concepts

18 Th 3/22
  * EXAM 2

III. SEQR;  Case Studies;
     Issues and Challenges

19 T 3/27
 "Little NEPAs"; NY State and Local  Governments
Text p. 135-9  
Web Resources
SEQR I: History; "Triage" Web Resources
T 4/3
 * Handout Team EAF Assignment
Web Resources
Th  4/5
 Bob Hargrove   U.S. EPA
 EPA's EIS Review Process
 Text p. 80,81
Web Resources
T    4/10
Topo Maps, 'Sheds
* Team EIS Review Due

  Internet/GIS Data Sources Lab
  Baker 156
 Web Resources
T 4/17
  John Feltman- NY DEC
 Web Resources
Th 4/19
  SEQR-EAF project
  Field Working Session

T 4/24
 Patty Bliss  NY DOT
Th 4/26
  Adaptive management
 Web Resources
T 5/1
* Team SEQR- EAF Due

for each, students should be able to define in a paragraph and give a law/regulation citation, or a real/hypothetical example, or sketch a diagram.

1Purpose of Impact Analysis

2.   Basic types of federal laws
      Basic types of federal programs
      Role of government transparency in a democracy
      Pub. L. xx-yyy

      xx U.S.C. yyy-zzz
"action forcing" section of NEPA
     generic "Actor-Stakeholder" diagram
          3D Physical environment (4D incl. time)
          3 Branches of government
          Federal Executive branch organization:
             Executive Office of the President
             Cabinet Departments/ units within Departments
             Independent Establishments and Government Corps.

           (plus next class)- business, NGOs, citizens...)


      who does NEPA apply to?

      action-forcing "intra-governmental" coordination

       3 primary types of federal agency decisions causing environmental impacts
      basic actor-stakeholder  diagram for a federal public works project    
      role of management plans for federal lands
      basic actor-stakeholder diagram for a federal land management plan

basic actor-stakeholder diagram for a shared (federalism) federal-state Interstate Highway

      basic actor-stakeholder diagram for regulatory permit
      three alternative decisions resulting from permit application
       "the environmental decade"

5. C.F.R.
    NEPA   time line:NEPA; Calvert Cliffs; "Overkill"; "environmental decade"; E.O.; CEQ Regs
    Lead Agency
    Cooperating agency 

6. Some additions to NEPA timeline: CAA, creation of EPA, CEQ Guidelines

NEPA "Triage" Process Diagram (lecture revision of text Fig. 1.6)
proposed action:
              when to start review
              connected action
              small federal handle
does NEPA apply?- 3 alternative legal means to answer "no"-one from each branch of gov. 
   Environmental Assessment  (EA)

      relative magnitude of current agency use of the three "NEPA triage process" branches
"potential significant impact"- 2 major components
      required contents of an EA
specificity of CEQ Regs. regarding EA's
      agency and public involvement
      direct impact
      indirect impact
      "mitigated" FONSI
      CEQ: FAQs

8.  EIS purposes
      specificity of CEQ Regs. regarding EISs
      Notice of Intent (NOI)
          Lead Agency
           intragovernmental participation (see also Ch. 1 "Cooperating Agency")
          intergovernmental participation
      Draft EIS
      Circulate/Receive "Substantive" Comments
      Final EIS

    required contents of an EIS
    organization and writing of EISs to meet three basic audience/communication needs
    comparison of agency problem framing pre/post NEPA
    need for action

    purpose(s) of action
    relationship between "purpose and need" and "alternatives"

(11) .
       pre-NEPA hsitorical development of Federal public works alternatives (Fish and Wildlife Service Coordination Act; Transportation Act Sec. 4F)
       No action (null) alternative 
       Reasonable alternatives
       Feasible alternatives
       Range of alternatives
       Alternatives outside lead agency's jurisdiction
       Preferred alternative
     "blended" alternative

       How is the "environment" described in NEPA? in CEQ Regs?
        "human environment" : 3 basic categories (text)
                special case of socio-economic impacts
       role of Scoping in framing the "affected environment"
                baseline conditions
                geographic impact extent of alternatives: "footprints", "sheds"
       indirect impacts: sketch of source(s)- pathways- receiver systems
       impact time frames
       class revisiosn of figs. text p.99 You will be given some data and asked to construct this graph in Exam #2.

        statistical forecast:
                 use in impact analysis;
                  prerequisites,  assumption
       NEPA's "logical positivism" regarding impact prediction
            historical context
4 Basic Approaches For Estimating Future Conditions

      Some major model types:
              3D scale models
             spatial GIS models
             math/digital process models

 Karplus ' spectrum diagram
            limits to our ability to predict:
               data availability
               knowledge of how the system functions
               "openess" of system to externalities
               human willfulness in socio-economic systems  
  model transparency in NEPA:
             do the public and decision makers know how the predictins were done?
             do they know the quality of these estimates (are they communicated as an expected range or a single value?)

(14)    Karplus' simple diagram of a system (Fig. 1) and his 3 basic classes of modeling problems

            TR-55 as an example of a simple, widely used prediction process model:
                the complete conceptual process model (pictorial hydrological cycle)
                simplifying assumptions
                availability of data
                empirical relationships
                some critiques: lumped parameters; lack of calibration     

             Gold mine article
                 environmental issues
                 modeling challenges
                 NEPA process issues

(15) When Socio-Economic Impacts are included in the NEPA process
What Karplus says about socio-econ. models? why?
      U.S. Census of Population and Housing (web): 

             hierarchial geography 
             population projections
     Pollution Plume exposure problem: "peanut butter" assumption
     El Paso water use 
     tourism economic impact forecasting "conepts" (web)

(16) NEPA is a "procedural" law, not a "substantive" law
        NEPA Triage: 

               EA-FONSI with Mitigation
               mitigation in an EIS
         mitigation Hierarchy: (in CFR )
       wetlands banking (web)
         mitigation enforceability      

(17) EPA Office of Federal Activities (OFA)
            "substantive comments"
            Final EIS:

                responses, discussion of comments on Draft
             preferred alternative
             "blended alternative
            "adoption" of FEIS by other cooperating agencies
            Record of Decision (ROD)
                "environmentally preferable alternative"

                 mitigation, monitoring,  enforcement

Web Links 2007

Course framework
Council on Environmental Quality’s NEPA-net: A good basic site containing several links for downloading NEPA related regulations, procedural guidance, annual reports by the CEQ, topic-specific data links, and other documents and links   One of the special reports available is: “NEPA – A Study of Effectiveness After 25 Years.”

Your text publisher, Solano press maintains an associated web site.

The federal Government is "complex". Because NEPA covers the entire federal executive, each EIS may involve a different set of actors.  A basic Organization chart of US Gov: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/files/gov_chart.pdf

The US Government Manual has brief descriptions of the internal management (including senior staff) of all federal agencies: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual/

The thousands of Federal laws are thematically codified to facilitate access. Go to U.S. Code : http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/
  and  review "Titles" in Table of Contents


Review the map of government land holdings and the agencies involved:  Gov%20Land%20Map.jpg.jpe

Read the origins of BLM's "organic act" (FLPMA 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq): http://www.blm.gov/flpma/organic.htm ,
    then go to the U. of New Mexico's summary of federal law site: http://ipl.unm.edu/cwl/fedbook/statute_frame.htm
    and read a summary of FLPMA.

Go to Cornell's Legal Information Institute and review the relationship between federal natural resources mangement activities and Titles in the U.S.C. : http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Natural_resources
also look at "Land Use"

Go to CEQ's NEPA-NET site and review one of the links to major land management agencies other than BLM: http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/nepanet.htm

Examine a land management plan for a national forest



Go to Cornell's Legal Information Institute and review the relationship between federal regulatory activites and Titles in the U.S.C. :  http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Environmental_law

After a regulatory law is passed, the agency must promulgate detailed regulations to systemize the permit program process. The following sites can provide an introduction gateway to the law-regulation- permit relationships.

EPA's web site includes law summaries, "plain english guides", and full text

The Army Corps of Engineers regulates wetlands. http://www.usace.army.mil/public.html

The Interior Dept's. Fish and Wildlife Service is reponsible for the Endangered Species Act http://endangered.fws.gov/

Many of the Federal EPA regulations have been assigned to the states. The NY DEC is organized by programs reflecting the underlying federal and state laws. http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/site/programs.html

Assignment 1:
    EPA Review Manual

6.  Read about the recent USFS CATEX for National Forest plans : http://www.jonesandstokes.com/Newsletters/Q1_07/Q1_07_USFS_NEPA_review.htm

(8) Cape Cod Wind project
            Read the Corps of Engineers' Scoping Document:  550%20CapeWind%20EIS%20Scoping.pdf 
                and the Coperating Agencies: 550%20Cape%20Wind%20EIS%20Coop%20Agencies.pdf
            Review the "politcal side" of the issue at : http://www.grist.org/news/muck/2006/01/12/capecod/

Clear writing has been a challenge throughout EIS history. DOE guidelines for writing an effective "Summary" is a good model:      http://tis.eh.doe.gov/nepa/tools/guidance/summguid.pdf

I-81 through downtown Sysracuse is nearing the end of its structural life. Take a look at the planning consultant's recently finished "Needs Analaysis"- See how defining Purpose and Needs frames the identification of alternatives to be subsequently analyzed:
University Hill Transportation-Land UseNeeds Study

Computer models are used in almost every type of pollution permit, public works project, and many EA/EIS impact predictions/forecasts. Some agencies provide "recommended" models. Peruse the variety:

The EPA:  http://www.epa.gov/epahome/models.htm
The DOT's FHWA: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/toolbox/casestudiesimpacts.htm

     Briefly review the DOT Noise analysis manual. Look at how they determine existing baseline conditions, the
timeframe the prediction covers, and the use of computer models:  http://www.dot.state.ny.us/eab/files/3-1drft3.pdf

    Many models are commercially available. Check out hrydrology and hydraulic models at:
    And the models at SciSoft: http://www.scisoftware.com/html/categories.html

    Take an overview of the complexity of modeling large ecosystems such as the Everglades: 
http://www.sfwmd.gov/site/index.php?id=21 ;
        or explore the forest vegetation simulator: http://www.fs.fed.us/fmsc/fvs/description/ffe-fvs.shtml

    Go to the US Census site and briefly review 2000 products: http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/mso-01icdp.pdf
          also read their approach to projections: http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/aboutproj.html

    Check out traffic models at: http://www.trafficware.com/

     Look at the data and techniques used for analyzing tourism economic impacts at:

    Prior to the New orleans hurricane disaster, the Army Corps of Engineers had begun a comprehensive program to rebuild a key canal. Go to the Army Corps of Engineers' "Community-Based  Mitigation Committee"s Home page:
    1. look over the FAQs
    2. under "Mitigation Plan", view the "Overview Slideshow"

Federal Policy about Wetland Mitigation involves a number of agencies and continues to evolve. The cuurent policy is described at:  http://www.mitigationactionplan.gov

Wetland banking is a growing aspect of mitigation. Check out:

The R.O.D. plays a critical role in both agency implementation and in potential law suits.
Download the Yellowstone bison mgmt. Plan ROD, and read the first 15 pages:

    New York's Department of State provides services to the state's numerous local government units.  The Local Government Handbook is an easy to read introduction to this complex subject. Take a quick look at Ch. 2,5,6,7,8, and 16:
NYS DOS, Local Government, Publications

    NY DEC has made considerable efforts to educate local governments and developers about SEQR. Got to the SEQR Homepage and review the range of materials provided:
Print out and bring to class the SEQR Regulations 6 NYCRR Part 617 Sections 617.1 and 617.2; and The SEQR "Cookbook";

(21) At the DEC website's "Downloadable SEQR Forms":
    Print out and bring to class SEQR Appendix A: Full EAF; and Appendix C: Short EAF:

    DEC has prepared an introductory Power point explaining SEQR to local Planning Boards: 550%20DEC-SEQR%20Intro%20for%20Planning%20Bds%20.ppt

(22) For those interested in the topic, EPA's Sec. 309 Policy for reviewing Impact statements: EPA NEPA Review Policy

(24) These are the Internet data sources discussed in lab: 550%20Internet%20Data%20Lab%20Sp'07.htm
(25) These SEQR Guidance documents should be looked over prior to John Feltman's presentation on Tues:

The Materials below this line are from the 2006 course- they are here to help those who want to look ahead . As the updated 2007 content is added to the web page the 2006 listings wil be deleted.

WEB RESOURCES  (Lec.#)  Note: This initial list is from Spring '06- it will be checked and updated on a continuing basis

(24) Federal Poicy about Wetland Mitigation involves a number of agencies and continues to evolve. The cuurent policy si described at:  http://www.mitigationactionplan.gov
Wetland banking is a growing aspect of mitigation. Check out:

(25) NY is one of the most highly regulated states in the nation. many see this as being "unfriendly to business, jobs, and landowners. The NY DEC like all state agencies has made considerables efforts to make is regulatory processes both streamlined and transparent.
    Go to the DEC's Program page: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/site/programs.html 

       and look at the diverse range of  current programs.
     Examine the web resources provided by the Division of Environmental Permits


    Go to NEPA-Net : http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/nepanet.htm
    Under "Executive Orders", print out E.O. # 12898; and under "CEQ- Guidance" , briefly review the E.J. document's contents.
    New York State has it's own E.J. initiative. Go to DEC's Office of E.J. site and see what they're up to:
    For a couple of years DEC has been under pressure from the Governor's office to update SEQR to include an E.J. analysis in EA's and EISs. Take a look at what the result so far has been:

Go to the Glen Canyon Dam AdaptiveManagement Program's web site and read "Background": http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envprog/amp/amwg/amwg_index.html

Then go to the USGSs Glen Canyon Dam site and take a look at the controlled research underway: