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Title: Monitoring: The missing piece

The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 heralded in an era of more robust attention to environmental impacts resulting from larger scale federal projects. The number of other countries that have adopted NEPA's framework is evidence of the appeal of this type of environmental legislation. Mandates to review environmental impacts, identify alternatives, and provide mitigation plans before commencement of the project are at the heart of NEPA. Such project reviews have resulted in the development of a vast number of reports and large volumes of project-specific data that potentially can be used to better understand the components and processes of the natural environment and provide guidance for improved and efficient environmental protection. However, the environmental assessment (EA) or the more robust and intensive environmental impact statement (EIS) that are required for most major projects more frequently than not are developed to satisfy the procedural aspects of the NEPA legislation while they fail to provide the needed guidance for improved decision-making. While NEPA legislation recommends monitoring of project activities, this activity is not mandated, and in those situations where it has been incorporated, the monitoring showed that the EIS was inaccurate in direction and/or magnitude of the impact. Manymore » reviews of NEPA have suggested that monitoring all project phases, from the design through the decommissioning, should be incorporated. Information gathered though a well-developed monitoring program can be managed in databases and benefit not only the specific project but would provide guidance how to better design and implement future activities designed to protect and enhance the natural environment. -- Highlights: • NEPA statutes created profound environmental protection legislative framework. • Contrary to intent, NEPA does not provide for definitive project monitoring. • Robust project monitoring is essential for enhanced environmental management. • Adaptive database framework is needed to accommodate project-monitoring data.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22246917
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 43; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; APPEALS; DECISION MAKING; DECOMMISSIONING; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION; LEGISLATION; MONITORING; REVIEWS; US CEQ; US NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT