One of the several environmental services that Encorus offers is a NEPA review. NEPA is a very important component in the environmental engineering field, but many non-environmental engineers may not know what NEPA is in the first place, let alone if they need a NEPA review. This article will explain what NEPA is and why it is important in environmental engineering.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law on January 1, 1970. Using the NEPA process, agencies evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions. Agencies also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those evaluations. Before NEPA was established, federal agencies were missions focused, to get goals accomplished as quickly as possible, with no required regard for environmental impacts.

NEPA requires that federal agencies evaluate environmental impacts of projects by preparing Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). These documents establish positive and negative impacts of a project on the environment. This information is used by agencies in establishing a number of alternatives to successfully reach the project goals. These alternatives can lead to the project being abandoned, if no suitable alternatives are acceptable to the agencies involved.

The public is included in this process by commenting on proposed projects. These can be submitted comments, or can be by public hearing. This gives people the ability to voice concerns or support for projects that would impact their lives, jobs, and environment. The NEPA process can be confusing and time consuming and it is recommended that you work closely with the consultants and government agencies involved.

If you are interested in learning more about the National Environmental Policy Act, or are curious if your project requires a NEPA review, please contact Encorus’s Environmental Engineer, Mary Padasak, at (716) 592-3980 ext. 144, or mpadasak@encorus.com.