Harnessing Information Technology to Improve the Environmental Impact Review Process
35 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2003
Since the National Environmental Policy Act was signed into law in 1970, the world has been transformed by the personal computer, the digital revolution, and the World Wide Web, yet NEPA's implementation remains stuck in the world of 1970. Environmental Impact Statements are still based on the model of the Sears catalog - a hard copy of a massive paper document that is expensive to produce and distribute, cumbersome to use, hard to store, and quickly tossed out or forgotten. For reasons we detail, this makes the process and the product of environmental review far less useful than it could be. The paper sets out the benefits of posting EISs and other environmental documents to the web, describes some of the so far haphazard federal and state efforts to do so, and argues that under NEPA itself, FOIA, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and the new E-Government Act, federal agencies are legally required to make these materials available on the Internet.
Keywords: world wide web, internet, NEPA, EIS, environmental impact statement
JEL Classification: K32, L86
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation