Event Calendar
Prev MonthPrev Month Next MonthNext Month
NAEP Webinar: NEPA Case Law Update
Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Category: Webinars

NEPA Case Law Update

July 27, 2021 8:30 AM (PT) | 11:30 AM (ET) 

This event has passed and registration is closed.

Purchase the Webinar!


This webinar will mirror the Case Law presentation provided during the NAEP 2021 Conference & Training Symposium, with updates as warranted. The webinar is based on a paper that reviews substantive National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) cases issued by United States Courts of Appeals in 2020. The implications of the decisions and relevance to NEPA practitioners will be explained. This presentation will summarize the more detailed paper prepared for the NAEP 2021 Conference & Training Symposium. The paper briefly explains, with an emphasis on the substantive NEPA findings, each opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The paper identifies statistics regarding the NEPA appellate opinions, such as a twelve-year record of NEPA cases, organized by circuit, and by year. The paper also identifies the agencies involved in each case and presents statistics relevant to the agencies; the paper further identifies the prevailing ratio of federal agencies that were challenged, including by agency and by document type (categorical exclusion, environmental assessment, environmental impact statement).

The paper analyzes the trends in the court opinions involving NEPA for 2020, with an emphasis on substantive NEPA practice, and by a grouping of the cases. Finally, each court opinion is paraphrased and organized in a manner easy to read for practitioners to find the court's ruling. Appellate opinions are grouped and analyzed by agency. Past trends include challenges to purpose and need, alternatives considered, public comment, scientific impact assessment methodologies, GHG emissions and climate change impact assessment, incomplete or unavailable information, determination of significance, segmentation, duty to supplement, connected actions, federal actions, cumulative impact assessment, mitigation, monitoring, and adaptive management. Suggestions for improving the implementation of the NEPA process and to meeting current challenges are offered, looking ahead to the future with a renewed emphasis on one of the world's oldest and most forward-looking environmental laws. 

Please join us for the popular webinar offering.

Cancellation Policy: All cancellations must be submitted in writing to NAEP. Please email [email protected] with your request.


Fred Wagner, Director at Large

Venable LLP

Fred Wagner focuses on environmental and natural-resources issues associated with major infrastructure, mining, and energy project development. Fred manages and defends environmental reviews performed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or equivalent state statutes. He works with public agencies and private developers to secure permits and approvals from federal and state regulators under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Fred understands the full range of issues surrounding the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) surface transportation programs, including grant management, procurement, suspension and debarment, and safety regulations. During his career, Fred has handled a wide variety of environmental litigation in federal trial and appellate courts across the country, from citizen suits to government enforcement actions and Administration Procedure Act (APA) challenges.


P.E. Hudson, Esq.

Dept of the Navy, OGC

P.E. Hudson, Esq. is the Counsel, Department of the Navy Office of General Counsel in Naval Base Ventura County, California, where she serves as the Counsel for the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineers and teaches for Civil Engineer Corps Officers School. The focus of her practice is environmental law and planning, and specifically NEPA; she also develops and teaches courses involving NEPA, environmental planning and impact analysis, and environmental law, with a special emphasis on coastal and ocean resources, to federal employees. She has published fourteen federal agency, academic and peer-reviewed articles on environmental planning and impact assessment since 2013.  She served on the NAEP Committee for Best Practice Principles for Environmental Assessments, a CEQ Pilot Project, and received the NAEP's President's Service Award in 2014 and 2019. 

She formerly served as a litigator at a large firm in private practice, and as a federal clerk. She is a member of the bars of California, Florida, and Georgia and the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms. Hudson retired from the Navy as a Commander (Oceanography). Any views expressed are Ms. Hudson’s personal views and not necessarily those of the Department of Defense, Navy, or Federal Government.

Michael Smith, Ph.D., Director


Dr. Smith has over 28 Years of NEPA experience. He is currently a Director of Environmental Process & Policy at WSP USA, where he focuses his practice on NEPA project and program management, technical analysis, policy development, and training/education for a wide range of public and private sector clients. He is a NAEP Board Member and the California AEP Representative.

He has managed and overseen some of the nation's largest, most complex, and highly controversial projects, including major energy and transportation infrastructure projects, regulation of genetically engineered plants, commercial space transportation operations, and approval of new fuel economy standards for motor vehicles. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resources Sociology, an M.A. in Geography, and a B.A in Environmental Studies.