-Those who must live with an outcome of an environmental decision should have some influence on it!
Public involvement is not only required by NEPA, but it has been shown to improve the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment. Public values and concerns can frame the scientific questions asked and ensure that the analyses address all of the issues relevant to those affected. Studies show that public participation also tends to increase the legitimacy of agency decisions, which in turn raises the likelihood that they can be implemented effectively and efficiently. In addition, public involvement builds citizens' knowledge of the scientific aspects of environmental issues, which increases their ability to engage in future decisions.
The NEPA process typically engages the public through scoping. Scoping is the process by which the BLM solicits input on the issues, impacts, and potential alternatives that will be addressed in the NEPA document, as well as the extent to which those issues and impacts will be analyzed. The scoping process helps to accomplish the following:
- identify people or organizations who are interested in the proposed action;
- identify the significant issues to be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS);
- identify and eliminate from detailed review those issues that will not be significant or those that have been adequately covered in prior environmental review;
- determine the roles and responsibilities of lead and cooperating agencies;
- identify any related Environmental Assessments (EA) or EIS;
- identify gaps in data and informational needs;
- set time limits for the process and page limits for the EIS;
- identify other environmental review and consultation requirements so they can be integrated with the EIS; and
- indicate the relationship between the development of the environmental analysis and the agency's tentative decision making schedule.
Information on the status of scoping meetings conducted for the solar energy projects currently under review is indicated on the project webpages referenced above.
Links & Resources
Solar Energy Applications Map