What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

Published by Thomas Herold in Laws & Regulations

'Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)' is explained in detail and with examples in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzes and succinctly describes any potential proposed actions and the substantial effects these may cause for the environment where they will take place. Such an EIS is always made available to members of the public who wish to learn more about or comment on them. There are five components that every EIS has to contain per the rules.

The opening element to an Environmental Impact Statement is the description of the intended action. This portion will detail why it is needed and what are the benefits it offers. As a second item, they must also contain detailed information describing the setting of the environment and any areas that will be impacted by the action the document proposes.

The third part and substance of the Environmental Impact Statement surrounds a detailed analysis. This analysis has to consider all of the effects on the environment that the action will cause. As a fourth part of the EIS, it must also contain another analysis. This must suggest any practical alternatives to the intended action in question. Each of these alternate actions must be addressed for why they are not superior.

Finally, the EIS has to contain an outline of the means for lessoning the negative impacts on the environment. If possible, it should spell out a way to avoid these harmful effects altogether.

The reason that companies, organizations, or federal agencies prepare an Environmental Impact Statement is to learn what the consequences of their actions will be for the environment and how they can mitigate them. In this case, the word environment refers to the physical and natural environment. It also pertains to the mutual relationship between the environment and individuals. EIS definitions for the word environment involve many different components. These include water, land, air, life forms, structures, site environmental values. They also cover the aspects of culture, social concerns, and the economy.

Impacts from a proposed action are not always negative. They can be positive or sometimes both positive and negative. The idea is to find ways to lesson the impacts, especially the harmful ones. Sometimes the effects can not be effectively lessened. This is why the EIS will also go into detail on any alternatives to the proposed action which might involve fewer negative effects on the environment.

There are a variety of national regulations and federal laws that the American federal government has passed so that impacts on the environment can be calculated. These also mandate that alternative actions must be considered. The statute that stipulates when such an Environmental Impact Statement has to be created is known as NEPA the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

This centerpiece legislation was established primarily to govern federal agencies in their actions on the environment. It also relates to company or organizational efforts that will impact the environment.  It means that these agencies or parties have to not only detail what the potential action will do. They must also outline what they might reasonably do as an alternative to the suggested course of action.

These laws also require that enough information has to be included so that the Environmental Protection Agency or other reviewing group is able to adequately consider the pros and cons of every alternative action. The group that bears responsibility for the content and format of these Environmental Impact Statements is the CEQ Council for Environmental Quality. It is usually the Federal Environmental Protection Agency or a state’s Department of Environmental Conservation that will require such a statement to be put together on a project.

Free Download (No Signup Required) - The 100 Most Important Financial Terms You Should Know!
This practical financial dictionary helps you understand and comprehend the 100 most important financial terms.

The term 'Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)' is included in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.