Course Description

Course ID: 
POL-550
Category: 
Policy & Regulations
Continuing Education Units: 
2.10CEUs
Description: 

*This course is a private offering for members and affilliates of the US Army Environmental Command*

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Writing the Perfect EA/FONSI, or EIS (Two Days)

*Updated description 7/2016 to address issues covered in class related to climate change.

This training course will present the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) practitioner with a set of practical skills for preparing either an Environmental Assessment (EA) / Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): all the required content, as well as practical skills for safely leaving out unnecessary content. NEPA lessons will come from various project examples.

Major themes include: how to make the findings required by law; timing the NEPA process to the decision making process; eight good legal reasons not to prepare an EIS; scoping a reasonable range of alternatives; writing the “perfect” cumulative effects analysis including greenhouse gas emissions for climate change analysis; and administrative record. This course includes a substantial handout with graphic models, updated case lists that support the models, and sample documents. Each attendee may keep the handout to serve as a reference in the workplace.

DID YOU KNOW
A perfect EA or EIS will be legally adequate, but a legally adequate EA or EIS is not perfect if it includes unnecessary content. Writing the perfect EA/FONSI or EIS covers all the rules for inclusion as well as for exclusion.

DID YOU KNOW
The categorical exclusion is not an exclusion from NEPA. Instead, it is one of three processes for compliance with NEPA, along with the EA/FONSI and the EIS. Writing the perfect EA/FONSI or EIS covers all the NEPA procedures including, for example, supplementation and tiering.

DID YOU KNOW
There is a specified procedure to follow when information relevant to significant adverse environmental impacts is incomplete or unavailable. Writing the perfect EA/FONSI or EIS covers this procedure as well as a step-by-step process to determine when it is necessary.

"But for Mr. Schmidt, I would know next to nothing about NEPA. Now I understand some of the larger issues and can think through basic problems. I have learned a lot. Instructor of great impact." Anonymous, October 2015

"This class is full of useful hints, tips and shortcuts to NEPA documentation"   Anonymous, April 2015

"Tons of content! As a new practitioner, this course provided tremendous context and foundational information that I would never have received if I hadn't taken the course. I would even take it again! Owen Schmidt is wonderful! Completely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and accessible (not just his personality but his delivery of course content)."  R. Gilliam, March 2013

“[Owen Schmidt] created a very relaxed atmosphere which promoted class participation.  As a beginner to NEPA I was able to gain a lot of insight.” D. Lieb, May 2013

"[Liked] the major points on how to write purpose and need, determining alternatives, and cumulative impacts.  Also on determining significance and disclosing methods." M. Worah, July 2013

Advanced NEPA (One Day)

It’s time to take the National Environmental Policy Act to the next level – Advanced NEPA. 

NEPA is often criticized for costing too much, taking too long, and accomplishing too little.  If you have any role in the NEPA process, you have a stake in the answers discussed in this seminar. 

You are encouraged to bring your own questions for discussion and resolution.  This is a seminar format with significant time reserved for discussion rather than lecture.  Handout materials are substantial and based on statutes, regulations, and case law rather than on opinion or past practice. 

Expect a fast-paced day.  During this seminar the questions that do not arise in the basic courses will be asked and answered – questions related to the categorical exclusion, the environmental assessment, the finding of no significant impact, and the environmental impact statement.

"Owen does a great job explaining complex materials in an easily understandable way" Anonymous, August 2015

 "[There was] Enthusiastic discussion between instructor and participants…real examples to compare/discuss/review." B. Campbell, March 2013

"I liked the enthusiasm and extensive knowledge that applied to a wide range of projects." K. Becker, October 2013

If you have any trouble registering please call (425) 270-3274 ext 100

Course Materials: 

Attendees will receive a course workbook containing workshop proceedings and reference material.

Intended Audience: 

NEPA Practitioners of US Army Environmental Command and Affilliates

Order: 
10

More Information

Course Topics

DAY 1

Writing the Perfect FONSI

Ultimate conclusions
Basic conclusions
Evidence
Reasons

Timing the NEPA process to the decision making process
Idea
Proposal
Recommendation or report
Decision action
Monitoring, supplements

Eight good reasons not to prepare an EIS

Writing the perfect EA or EIS
Eight plain-language questions any EA or EIS should readily answer

Writing the perfect ROD
Double winnowing
SCOPE: Alternatives
Proposal for action
Need underlying the proposal
Action alternatives:
- Alternative places to go
- Alternative ways to get there
No-action alternative
Mitigation not included in the proposal
Decision factors

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis
Actions:
-Reasons to lump
-Reasons to split

Impacts:
-Direct, indirect, and cumulative
-Increments to past, other present, and reasonably
foreseeable future actions

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis, continued

Administrative Record

DAY 2

SCOPE: Alternatives
Proposal for action
Need underlying the proposal
Action alternatives:
- Alternative places to go
- Alternative ways to get there
No-action alternative
Mitigation not included in the proposal
Decision factors

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis
Actions:
-Reasons to lump
-Reasons to split

Impacts:
-Direct, indirect, and cumulative
-Increments to past, other present, and reasonably
foreseeable future actions

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis, continued

Administrative Record

Types of questions that will be asked and answered:

  • What is an extraordinary circumstance that would take an action normally excluded out of consideration for categorical exclusion?
  • Is a no-action alternative absolutely necessary in an environmental assessment?
  • What is an environmental baseline?
  • What is an appropriate alternative for a proposal involving unresolved conflicts over alternative uses of available resources? 
  • What is an adverse environmental effect that cannot be avoided?
  • When is an issue or matter relevant and when is it not?
  • What is the threshold for supplementing an EA?
  • Can a programmatic EIS on a long-term plan of actions be supplemented with dozens, scores, or even hundreds of EAs/FONSIs on the many actions that implement the plan of actions over time?  If the plan of actions has significant consequences, at what point does the accumulation of implementing actions become significant?  

What to Bring

Drinks and snacks will be provided each day. Lunch will be on your own.

Billing Information

In order to guarantee a space in a course, the tuition must be paid in full TWO WEEKS before the first day of the course by either check or credit card. State and government agencies paying with a purchase order are allowed payment under the two-week time frame if a copy of the purchase order is received by NWETC.

If You Need to Cancel

Cancellations*

  • With 31 or more days notice, we will offer a 100% refund or credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With 30-8 days notice, we will offer a course credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With fewer than 8 days notice, there is no course credit available


*Please note that attendee replacement is welcome at any time

Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations:

No upcoming offerings

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