NAEP Annual NEPA Report – 2014

The National Association of Environmental Professionals’ (NAEP’s) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Practice (formerly known as the NEPA Working Group) is pleased to present our seventh NEPA Annual Report.  This report contains summaries of the latest developments in NEPA as well as the NEPA Practice’s efforts for the past year.  This annual report is prepared and published through the initiative and volunteer efforts of members of the NAEP’s NEPA Practice.  The 2014 NEPA Annual Report includes:
 
1.         Introduction
2.         Perspectives on NEPA from Congressman Sablan
3.         The NEPA Practice 2014
4.         Just the Stats on 2014 EISs filed with the U.S. EPA
5.         Preparation Times for Environmental Impact Statements Made Available in 2014
6.         NEPA Regulatory Update
7.         Recent Congressional Legislation Regarding NEPA
8.         Bill Cohen Summit Report
9.         2014 NEPA Cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeal and Cumulative Impacts Cases
 
In 2014, announcements of 384 Draft, Final, and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) were published in the Federal Register.  U.S. Forest Service (USFS) published the most documents with 89 (23% of total), followed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (44/11%), Federal Highway Administration (43/11%) Bureau of Land Management (25/7%) and National Park Service (25/7%).  (Based on information in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database of EISs; http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/nepa/eisdata.html).  Substantially more information is provided in Section 4 of the Annual Report, “Just the Stats.”
 
The NEPA Annual Report also found that 186 Final EISs were made available in 2014.  The average time to prepare those 186 EISs (measured from Notice of Intent to Final EIS) was 4.7 years.  Almost 36 percent of EISs were prepared in one to two years, with 63.1 percent of EISs were completed in five years or less. Substantially more information is provided in Section 5 of the Annual Report, “Preparation Times for Environmental Impact Statements Made Available in 2014.”
 
In 2014, the U.S. Courts of Appeal issued 22 substantive decisions involving implementation of NEPA. The 22 cases involved 11 different departments and agencies, with the agencies prevailing in 89 percent of the cases.  Detailed summaries of these cases are provided in Sections 9 and 10 of the Annual Report.
 
This year’s Guest Editorial is from the Honorable Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.  Congressman Sablan represents the People of the Northern Mariana Islands in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Congressman Sablan writes about the importance of NEPA’s public involvement and disclosure provisions to local residents: “were it not for NEPA, the public would have had little or no opportunity to comment, criticize, or question the impact of the military’s plans… It is true that NEPA review can be complex and slow. But most of the people I represent in the Northern Mariana Islands would say they appreciate the complexity and the thoroughness of the environmental impact statement that NEPA required…”  Congressman Sablan’s full editorial is included in the Annual Report.
 
For a full copy of the 2014 report click here to join NAEP – NAEP Membership Application.  Previous Annual Reports are available on the member only section of the NAEP website and on the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) website at https://ceq.doe.gov/nepa_information/ngos.html.  If you are already a member of NAEP and need assistance logging onto the NAEP website please email Abby Murray at naep2@naep.org.