Lecture 1: Introduction to EIS - overview, measurement, prediction, evaluation of impacts, requirements Flashcards Preview

EHS 572: Environmental Impact Assessment > Lecture 1: Introduction to EIS - overview, measurement, prediction, evaluation of impacts, requirements > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 1: Introduction to EIS - overview, measurement, prediction, evaluation of impacts, requirements Deck (25):

What is NEPA? list key phrases (5), key directives (1),

National Environmental Policy Act (1970, amd '75 '82). declare a national policy which encourages a productive/enjoyable harmony btw man and env

responsible for future generations, preserve and enhance, cultural historical material resources, no degradation, enhance quality of renewable resources



Physical, social, cultural and economic factors which affect individuals+communities, and determine their relationship, the survival of one or the other (Section 102 of NEPA)


Define "Environmental Impacts"

any alteration of environmental conditions or creation of new set of env conditions


What is the (broad) way in which we can reduce adverse health outcomes (under the NEPA context)?

establish linkages btw environmental contaminants and health outcomes


What are 6 categories of Environmental Impacts?

pollution (noise, air, water etc), vegetation (habitats, behavior,) , energy supply (non renewable resources), natural hazards/effects (run-off), land use (recreation, water resources), social environment (employment, community character)


How do we measure environmental impacts?

environmental indicators, which are measures to track env conditions over time.

can measure emissions, toxics conc, injury caused. can be qualitative or quantitative. selected based on relevance and practicality


What are some common issues with environmental indicators? (6)

diversity of measures, communicating results, how certain and variable?, how to compare?, universal recognition, what boundary is appropriate (within a global, regional, and local context)?

The boundary question is really important!


How does the EPA classify environmental indicators?

there is a hierarchy - level 1 (permits) to level 6 (changings in human health or condition) - depending on the level of impact


Briefly describe the EIA process (5)

ideally EIA starts before project is initiated (Notice of Intent).Are federal funds involved? any permitting?
After the initial EIA, either they proceed with EIA draft, or they have a FONSI.
The EIA draft is sent to all interested groups, published for public review and comment period.
Then the final EIA document is prepared, along with a record of decision and mitigation plan.
If accepted, Project then proceeds, with monitoring and follow-up


Describe the main elements of an EIA (9)

Scoping, purpose and need, identify technical and interested parties, identify alternatives, compile data, describe environmental setting, identify mitigation approaches, asses impacts from alternatives, select preferred alternative.


Describe 2 differences between the US and other countries wrt EIAs

- some countries do not require alternatives to be published, just final
- in the US the formal review of the draft EIA is done by a 3rd party


Describe the 5 primary types of mitigation strategy. Which is most preferred?

avoidance / prevention (do this one), minimization, reduction or elimination, correction, compensation.


In an EIS, how is "significance" of an effect determined (3)? What does NEPA say?

Significance is determined by experts, comparison with legally defined threshold values, common practices

According to NEPA, this standard of significance applies to both beneficial and adverse effects.


Keystone XL: What are the major differences between the 2011 and 2014 EIS (2)?

1) Avoidance of the NDEQ- identified Sand Hills region (and other similar regions based on soil type and topography) in Nebraska,
2) Termination of the Project in


Keystone XL: Comment on the the assumption that is made in the EJ portion, stating that risk of spill is constant along pipe

SB disagrees, because of seismology, topography, variable corrosion


Keystone XL: What is the stated project purpose and need?

purpose is to provide infrastructure to transport crude oil from Canada to refineries in the US.

the project responds to the market demand of refineries for heavy (bitumen from oil sands in canada) and light (bakken formation found in N Dakota and Montana) crude oil


Keystone XL: Basic Facts - length, capacity,

875 miles of 36-inch diameter pipe, capacity - 830k bpd (730 heavy, 100 light),


What are the 5 Major objectives of NEPA?

1) man and nature exist in productive harmony
2) env values receive proper emphasis in decision making
3) fed agencies must taking env into consideration
4) requires EIS and public process
5) land use legislation that spurred many states Mini Nepas


What are the 3 major features of NEPA?

Purpose and policy as defined (5 mandates), institution on EIS, CEQ formed


List and describe the 5 mandates of NEPA policy

supplemental (authority for env protection), affirmative (preserve restore enhance env), procedural (process to give appropriate consideration), substantive (responsibility to act), integration (take the env preferred course)


What would a lawyer say about NEPA?

declares intent, but doesn't have teeth


What are the relative numbers of EAs vs EIAS per year?

50k EAs per year, 600 EIS


Who has to prepare an EIS?

Federal actions which may have a significant effect on the env (as determined by the initial EIA) must prepare EIS. if the initial EA determines FONSI then no EIS is needed


Describe the purpose and function of the CEQ

created by NEPA. head of CEQ is president's adviser on env. formulates and recommends policies, highlights problems, set up guidelines for impact statement process


Describe in Detail the section headers of an EIS (10)

1. Background - env setting
2. Description of proposed action
3. environmental impacts of proposed action (impacts and measures to reduce impacts)
4. adverse impacts that cannot be avoided (include social and cultural)
5. Alternatives to project - must include no action alternative, reason for selecting proposed
6. short/long term productivity/maintenance/uses
7. reversible/irreversible impacts
8. public participation
9. discussion of problems/issues given by interested parties
10. acknowledgment of authorship