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First: Here's a link to CEQ's Citizens Guide to NEPA. The EIS process was established by the National Environmental Policy Act. The Act also established CEQ (The White House Council on Environmental Policy) to act as a watchdog over the NEPA process. CEQ created the Guide to try and answer questions about the process.
Second: One of the intentions of NEPA was that EIS documents created within mandates of the process would be written in a clear manner that would be understandable to any interested citizen. It was interesting that Bruce Mate found it important to mention how difficult it was for him to understand parts of the EIS. This is in fact what often happens within the process. In some instances it happens because the Agency has hired a contractor to write the EIS and the contractor (to justify their fee?) loads the EIS up with boiler plate language and/or statistics to produce a more impressive document.
In other cases it's done to provide "cover" for the Agency when it's not in the Agency's interest to make intentions of the EIS clear to the average interested citizen.
Third: After 9/11 all branches of the military began resisting living up to their responsibilities under NEPA to follow the EIS process. The usual reason given was the enhanced need for national security. If the the military did follow the process they would often seek to cut it off at the EA level (see the Citizens Guide) with quiet lip service paid to the "scoping process" followed by a finding of "no significant impact". I'm not familiar with this particular EIS action, but when there were questions brought up about our congressional delegation's lack of input back in 2007, this combination of 9/11 side-steps occurred to me to be a possible answer.
posted 4 years, 2 months ago
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