Today’s announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) is making it easier than ever for federal agencies to submit their environmental impact statements (EISs) – required as specified in 1506.9 of the CEQ regulations. Electronic submittals are faster, cheaper (save the paper and stamp costs) and more energy efficient, but there is generally a learning curve with this type of system. It’s called e-NEPA, and it’s mandatory as of October 1st, 2012 (already past). Learn how to register for and begin submitting EISs through e-NEPA in this EPA Guidance document.
This new system e-NEPA, will replace the hard copy submission of EISs.
“The release of e-NEPA is an important step forward in advancing the President’s commitment to streamline the federal environmental review process,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Through electronic filing, we are making it easier for federal agencies to submit environmental impact statements, allowing them to save time and reduce costs, while making the process more transparent for the public.”
What are EISs? They are detailed analyses that federal agencies prepare to meet NEPA requirements. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is intended to help public officials make decisions that are based on understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment. You can read the full regulations here.
Make sure you still check with your Regional EPA office to see how they require submission of the EIS – they may still want a paper copy. There are still separate requirements for distribution of EISs to other federal agencies for review, including EPA Regional Offices, or the general public.