NEPA Analysis & Documentation

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) established a national policy for the environment. NEPA requires federal agencies to involve the interested and affected public in decision-making processes. NEPA is a process-oriented law. It defines a process that federal agencies must follow when proposing to take actions that have environmental impacts. NEPA does not dictate what decision an agency must make on actions that affect the environment.

NEPA’s seven purposes are to:

  • Make better, informed decisions;
  • Foster excellent action;
  • Inform the public and the decision-maker, before the decision;
  • Focus on issues that are “significant to the action”;
  • Do not generate excessive paperwork;
  • Produce high-quality documents, written in plain English, based on accurate environmental analysis; and
  • Use systematic, interdisciplinary approach.

There are three general pathways for complying with NEPA. Categorical exclusions are for federal actions that have been found to have no potential for significant environmental impacts under normal circumstances. Each federal agency has a list of categorical exclusions (CE or Catex) for actions typical to the agency. Compliance with NEPA involves documenting that the proposed action fits the description of the exclusion and no extraordinary circumstances are present. An environmental assessment (EA) is prepared when there is no applicable CE and the action does not typically require an environmental impact statement (EIS), extraordinary circumstances are present, or it is unknown whether the proposal would result in significant adverse impacts. An EIS is prepared when a proposal could result in significant adverse impacts.

Other local, state, and federal environmental laws and executive orders, such as the Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, should be integrated with analyses used to meet these requirements.

AARCHER performs National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and documentation for proposed actions nationwide. Our experience in cross-cutting regulations and interdisciplinary approaches results in understandable, rational, and defensible evaluations, at the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) levels.

To provide specialized or esoteric expertise and maintain maximum flexibility, we maintain a network of more than 175 scientists and technical experts. This approach allows us to combine our in-house NEPA staff experts with carefully selected independent specialists, to quickly assemble projects teams that are well-suited for the proposed action under evaluation. The lowered cost of this approach translates directly to lower overall project costs.

Aarcher has performed impact evaluations on behalf of local communities, Federal and state agencies, and the Environmental Protection Agency for a wide range of proposed actions, including linear projects, water and wastewater development projects, tower and antenna installations, regional distribution facilities, wildlife management plans, and federally funded manufacturing facility expansions. We have also supported Federal grant and loan applicants in preparing environmental assessment documents (EADs) that address a wide variety of proposed construction, development, and facility expansion efforts.

  • Understanding of a variety of Federal agency NEPA implementing regulations, and the ability to quickly adjust to changing requirements
  • Natural resources and cultural resources expertise
  • Experience evaluating Categorical Exclusions criteria for a wide range of project types
  • NEPA staff provides NEPA implementation training for Aarcher Institute open enrollment courses and for EPA Regional Offices
  • Project staff pool including more than 30 scientists and technical experts
  • Expertise coordinating with Federal and state agencies, including USFWS, EPA, and SHPOs for more than 3,000 proposed projects
  • Experience consulting with Native American tribes in approximately 20 states

Socioeconomic Analysis for the Vehicle Management Plan & Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
National Park Service
Denali National Park, Alaska

Environmental Assessments (EA) Review and NEPA Compliance Support for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program Elements
Department of Justice; Nationwide

Choosing By Advantage (CBA) Workshop for Zion National Park
National Park Service; Utah

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Projects Proposed to the Emergency Steel Loan Guarantee Board
Prepared to Department of Commerce standards
Weirton Steel Mill; Weirton, West Virginia

Environmental Assessment (EA) for proposed Regional Sewer System Improvements
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Saluda, Edgefield, and Aiken Counties, South Carolina

NEPA Compliance for Proposed Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Nationwide
Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) screening and Environmental Assessment (EA) development for more than 3,000 proposed tower and antenna installations
A&T Systems, ACME Tower Group, America Tower Corporation, AT&T Mobility, Bechtel, CellularOne, Cingular Wireless, Highpoint Communications, LCG Wireless, Light Tower Wireless, MESA Communications Group, Midwest Tower Leasing, Mobilitie, Mountain Union Telecom, NSORO, SBC Communications, Skylink, Sprint PCS, Texhoma Towers, Velocitel, Verizon Wireless, WHAW Radio

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Wilderness and Backcountry Management Plan
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area
National Park Service, Intermountain Region; Denver, Colorado

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Expansion and Redesign of the Oak Bottom Campground
Whiskytown National Recreation Area (NRA)
National Park Service; Shasta County, California

Environmental Assessment (EA) for FCI Englewood Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan
Bureau of Prisons; Aurora, Colorado

Environmental Assessment (EA) and CEQA Compliance for Proposed Regional Distribution Warehouse
Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES); Sacramento, California

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Memorial Tunnel Complex
Proposed counterterrorism training facility
US Army National Guard; Standard, West Virginia

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Snowden Wastewater System Expansion Grant
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Escambia County Utilities Authority Edgewater Sewer Expansion Grant
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Escambia County, Florida

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Pine Torch Community Water System Development Grant
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Lawrence County, Alabama

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Dunlap-Pikeville Water Line Connection Grant
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Dunlap, Tennessee

Environmental Assessment (EA) for Seville Boulevard/Sunset Drive Reclaimed Water Initiative Grant
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; City of Clearwater, Florida

NEPA Navigator Onsite Training
Training presented to EPA NEPA and legal staff, emphasizing stakeholder communication and review considerations
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8; Denver, CO

Energy Training Course for NEPA Practitioners
Training course and resource handbook designed to enhance NEPA staff’s understanding of energy production sources subject to NEPA evaluation
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Atlanta, GA

“NEPA Navigator”
Open Enrollment Course Presentations
Aarcher Institute of Environmental Training; Nationwide