What is an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement)?

So, what is an Environmental Impact Statement?  An EIS is basically a tool for decision making.   Since the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, federal agencies have been charged with a leadership role in protecting the environment.

An EIS is designed to ensure that federal agencies prepare and consider detailed statements about the environmental impacts of their proposed actions.  Following through on that thought, agency decisions concerning alternative actions will then have relevant information from the EIS to use as they plan actions and make decisions.

Many studies are undertaken as part of an EIS.  The list shown below identifies many of the issues that must be addressed in the process.

  • Population
  • Socioeconomic
  • Land Use
  • Neighborhood Impacts
  • Displacements
  • Environmental Justice
  • Secondary and Cumulative
  • Visual
  • Air Quality
  • Noise and Vibration
  • Ecosystems
  • Historic and Archaeological
  • Parkland
  • Construction

An EIS can serve as an important tool for federal agency problem solving.  The EIS provides federal agencies with an in-depth analysis of environmental impacts for each of the areas outlined.  In addition, an EIS provides a thorough exploration of appropriate alternatives and mitigation measures, and it promotes increased interaction with interested federal, state, and local agencies.

Revised 01/14/2010