NEPA: Writing and Evaluating an EIS or EA/FONSI

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A fast-paced 2-day training course that answers the question, “Is this thing any good?”
Course Title: NEPA: Writing and Evaluating an EIS or EA/FONSI
Course ID: POL-375
Status: CLOSED
Date(s): August 23, 2017: 8:30am - 4:30pm
August 24, 2017: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Location: BECC/ COCEF
El Paso, TX
Instructor: Owen Schmidt
Tuition: $595
Class is Closed
*This course is a private offering for members and affilliates of BECC/ COCEF



*This course is a private offering for members and affilliates of BECC/ COCEF


Intended Audience:

This course is designed for anyone who reviews, comments on, revises, plans, or writes NEPA documents, including (EAs)/Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). Agency personnel or contractors who have any part in the NEPA planning, feedback, and re-writing process will benefit from this course.

Continuing Education Units: 1.30 CEUs

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Course Topics

Day 1:

  • NEPA Primer: Basics/Overview
  • The Finding of No Significant Impact in particular
  • The proposed action and alternative actions: Purpose and need in plain language; Projects versus programmatic decisions; How to review the question of
    alternatives for EAs and EISs
  • Alternatives: proposed action, alternative action, no action

Day 2:

  • Impact assessment: cumulative impacts, direct and indirect impacts; connected, cumulative, and similar
    actions: How to review the assessment and comparison of environmental consequences in EAs and EISs
  • Lessons learned: Case Studies (Cube-set payloads…desire to maximize payloads, “~last minute” loading of launch vehicles with small payloads
    in “cube-sets”, NEPA exposure if anomalous? What is adequate NEPA process, public notice…etc? Case study overview & lessons learned from “NEPA Gone Wrong,” the federal Mineral Mining Service (MMS) and the Deepwater Horizon disaster. CEQ report overview of the MMS NEPA treatment of what they did and didn’t do right, consequences -MMS loss of mission & dissolution…evolving to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and post MMS changes/improvements at BOEM regarding NEPA. Any lessons learned, changes to our procedures & documents we should be looking at within NASA and FAA – licensing of commercial Spaceports and launch cycle? NASA using “ACME” rocket companies for Govt payload launches to ISS…astronauts next…NEPA treatment…recent NASA Wallops Island, MD commercial launch Space-X, (with NASA re-supply payload).

About the Instructor

Owen Schmidt

Owen Schmidt

Owen L. Schmidt, BA, MA, JD, has more than 32 years of service with the Federal Government. He has served as Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel in Portland, Oregon, where he advised the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other USDA agencies in Washington and Oregon. He was also a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Oregon. Before joining USDA in 1991, he was an attorney for the Bonneville Power Administration, where he joined the legal staff after several years as an Environmental Specialist. Mr. Schmidt received his J.D. from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College (1977), and a B.A. (1969) and M.A. (1973) in biology from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. Mr. Schmidt is a frequent author and lecturer on the National Environmental Policy Act. He served as a Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Book Publication Committee for the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and as a Vice President for the Ninth Circuit, The Federal Bar Association. He was the Editor of Oregon Birds, a quarterly journal of Oregon Field Ornithologists, for 14 years (1985-99), and is a long-time member of the Oregon Bird Records Committee.

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


  • 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:

To request disability accommodations, please contact us at or 425-270-3274 at least 30 days prior to the event.


  • From:

  • To:
  •   TBD El Paso, TX 79913



*Reduced tuition available to employees of Native American tribes, nonprofits, and government agencies; students; and NAEP members.

If you have any trouble registering please call (425) 270-3274 ext 103
Please wait to receive a course confirmation email, roughly one month prior to the class, before making any travel arrangements. Please review what to bring!


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