A Simple But Fundamental Step: Put All EISs & EAs on the Web
5 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 5, 2010
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is a notably short piece of legislation. But short as it is, NEPA reveals a belief that encouraging more complete information on the environmental costs and benefits of government actions will lead to better decisions. Implicit as well is a belief that government and public participation will lead to more accountable and hence more democratic decision-making. Astoundingly the basic documents of environmental assessment under NEPA - Environmental Assessments (EAs) (including so-called "FONSIs" findings of no significant impact) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) are not readily and universally available to the public. If NEPA were enacted in 2010 - indeed if it had been enacted at any point after the internet has become a central method of information exchange - there is little doubt the Congress would have required that all assessment documents be made available on the internet. It is time to take a simple but fundamental step and bring NEPA into the internet age. Every EA and every EIS should be placed on line in full text, and in a searchable format.
Keywords: NEPA, transparency, Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation