The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)(42 U.S.C. § 4321-4347) was signed into law on January 1, 1970, by President Richard Nixon. The purpose of this act was,
“To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality.” (Section 2 [42 USC § 4321]).
NEPA requires all federal agencies to consider environmental impacts resulting from actions they are undertaking, including funding, permitting, and approving. All federal agencies are also required to consider reasonable alternatives to actions with significant environmental impacts and to select the alternative with the least overall environmental impact. The purpose of this presentation is to provide a brief overview of the history and application of NEPA, and the process utilized by the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) in the implementation of NEPA for transportation projects. Additionally, we will discuss the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) State Environmental Process, which is implemented when only state, local, or private funding is utilized for the development of transportation projects.
With more than 40 years of experience, Mark Easley manages scientific investigations required for environmental assessment of a wide variety of project types, including surface, air, and water transportation, industrial and mixed-use complexes, and agricultural development. He is knowledgeable of regional-scale drainage studies, as well as research on marine coastal and freshwater wetland systems and federal and state-listed species.
Mark’s technical expertise includes biological and ecological investigations and impact analyses and preparation of related reports and permit applications, mitigation plans, and conservation measures. He has also managed the development of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents ranging from Categorical Exclusions to Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for multiple federal agencies. He has an in-depth knowledge of all federal, state, regional, and local environmental criteria, and associated agency procedures, including federal 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting, Sections 7 and 10 consultations for protected species, sections 4(f) and 6(f) cultural resource consultations, and state wetlands and protected species permitting.