The purpose of the handbook on Preparing High-Quality NEPA Documents for Transportation Projects is to help practitioners bridge the gap between the theory and practice of producing high-quality NEPA documents. The handbook focuses on the preparation of environmental impact statements and environmental assessments, but many of the tips in the handbook also apply to documented categorical exclusions. Included in this handbook are four main sections:

  • Key issues to consider, which includes questions about expectations for the NEPA document, organization and format, writing quality and style, graphics, data, NEPA compliance, regulatory issues, and permitting processes.
  • A summary of the regulations, guidance, and other materials that provide direction regarding the organization, content, and readability of NEPA documents.
  • Practical tips for achieving quality NEPA documents, including tips about how to prepare for the NEPA process, improve overall document quality, and comply with NEPA and related requirements.
  • A list of reference materials.

Refer also to a companion report prepared to help practitioners bridge the gap between the theory and practice of producing high-quality NEPA documents by providing examples that illustrate specific techniques: Examples of Effective Techniques for Preparing High Quality NEPA Documents (2014).

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Handbook Resources

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Federal Highway Administration, and the American Council of Engineering Companies, Improving the Quality of Environmental Documents (2006).
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California Department of Transportation, Annotated Outlines (part of the Standard Environmental Reference).

California Department of Transportation, Standard Environmental Reference (comprehensive manual for NEPA documents).

Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT NEPA Manual.

Council on Environmental Quality, Final Guidance on Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews Under the National Environmental Policy Act (2012).

Council on Environmental Quality, Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning CEQ’s NEPA Regulations (1981).

Environmental Protection Agency, Electronic Submittal of Environmental Impact Statements to EPA (undated).

Federal Highway Administration, Interim Guidance on MAP-21 Section 1319 Accelerated Decisionmaking in Environmental Reviews (Jan. 13, 2014).

Federal Highway Administration Memorandum, Improving the Quality of Environmental Documents (July 31, 2006).

Federal Highway Administration, Technical Advisory T 6640.8A, Guidance for Preparing and Processing Environmental and Section 4(f) Documents (Oct. 30, 1987).

National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 25-25(01): Synthesis of Data Needs for EA and EIS Documentation – A Blueprint for NEPA Document Content (2005).

Ohio Department of Transportation, Training Toolkits on NEPA, Section 106, Section 4(f), and other topics.

Oregon Department of Transportation, NEPA Document Dos and Don’ts.

Washington State Department of Transportation, Reader-Friendly Document Tool-Kit.