The Environmental Impact Statement After Two Generations

Managing Environmental Power

By Michael R. Greenberg

Routledge – 2012 – 232 pages

Series: Natural and Built Environment Series

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartPaperback: $53.95
    978-0-415-60174-0
    November 28th 2011
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    978-0-415-60173-3
    December 20th 2011

Description

This book is about a subject that Michael Greenberg has worked on and lived with for almost forty years. He was brought up in the south Bronx at a time when his neighborhood suffered from terrible air and noise pollution, and domestic waste went untreated into the Hudson River. For him, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was a blessing. It included an ethical position about the environment, and the law required some level of accountability in the form of an environmental impact statement, or EIS.

After forty years of thinking about and working with NEPA and the EIS process, Greenberg decided to conduct his own evaluation from the perspective of a person trained in science who focuses on environmental and environmental health policies. This book of carefully chosen real case studies goes beyond the familiar checklists of what to do, and shows students and practitioners alike what really happens during the creation and implementation of an EIS.

Contents

1. A Statement of Values and Forty Years of Field Trials 2. Metropolitan New Jersey: Transportation, Sprawl and Urban Revitalization 3. Ellis Island, New York Harbor: Time Closes in on a National Cultural Treasure 4. Sparrows Point, Maryland: Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities 5. Johnston Island: Destruction of the U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile 6. Savannah River Nuclear Weapons Facility: Managing the Legacy of the Military’s Nuclear Factory 7. Animas-La Plata, Four Corners: Water Rights and the Ute Legacy 8. NEPA and the Challenges of the Early 21st Century

Author Bio

Michael R. Greenberg is a Professor and Dean at Rutgers University and the author of more than 20 books and 300 articles about environmental policy. He serves as Associate Editor for environmental health for the American Journal of Public Health, and is Editor-in-Chief of Risk Analysis: An International Journal.

Welcome!

This companion website provides additional material for students and instructors to use alongside the textbook The Environmental Impact Statement after Two Generations.

For instructors, there is guidance on trying an EIS in a class situation, with two different suggestions including an example checklist. Additionally, a case study explains how the checklist can be used in a real life scenario – creating an example that students can use in the classroom or for revision.

For students, helpful flashcards of key terms can be used at exam time and when a refresher of the topic is needed.

Introduction from Series Editor – Professor John Glasson, Oxford Brookes University

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important strand in the NBE series. It developed from the pioneering National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1970 in the USA. It is very appropriate that the series now includes a key text on the role of EIA and the resultant Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) focusing on the USA over the subsequent 40 years. We are fortunate to have, in Michael Greenberg, an author with a wealth of relevant EIA experience in the USA.

‘NEPA became a political necessity in the United States when the sights, sounds, and odours of environmental damage became all too apparent to the American public. Highlighted by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968), and by gruesome photos of devastation, pressure built for government intervention’.

Michael Greenberg

 

Greenberg sets the context with an overview of that government intervention, and its relative strengths and weaknesses. But the unique feature of this book is the set of six case studies, covering a wide range of topics, locations and time periods. These provide in depth studies for students, their faculty staff and practitioners alike. The reader will learn about the EIS process in the USA in the context of significant public policy decisions. Two other features are the use of the same set of questions in each case study chapter and interviews with those directly involved in the decision process, including technical experts and elected officials. The book shows that the federal EIS has become an environmental chameleon that fits agency’s needs to manage environmental power.

About the Book

This book is about a subject that Michael Greenberg has worked on and lived with for almost forty years. He was brought up in the south Bronx at a time when his neighborhood suffered from terrible air and noise pollution, and domestic waste went untreated into the Hudson River. For him, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was a blessing. It included an ethical position about the environment, and the law required some level of accountability in the form of an environmental impact statement, or EIS.

Since then he has read the law and regulations that followed from it, worked on some environmental impact statements, read sections of many, conversed with people who prepared them, and those who have reacted to them. And while many of the analyses of the law and of the EIS process are helpful, they tend to be painted in black and white, without enough of the subtleties and nuances that happen in the real world and in particular away from the winner-takes-all forum of the law courts. Only a tiny minority of cases end up in the courts, and the vast majority of EIS processes are resolved by discussion and negotiation rather than litigation.

To properly evaluate an EIS means reading tables of data and lengthy case studies and illustrations as evidence, and reading environmental and risk evaluations that are painted in shades of gray. It might mean that the analysts did more than adequate job of measuring impacts on cultural artifacts, but failed to adequately assess the noise impacts.

After forty years of thinking about and working with NEPA and the EIS process, Greenberg decided to conduct his own evaluation from the perspective of a person trained in science who focuses on environmental and environmental health policies. This book of carefully chosen real case studies goes beyond the familiar checklists of what to do, and shows students and practitioners alike what really happens during the creation and implementation of an EIS.