Course

Basic NEPA: The Law, Logic, and Language of the National Environmental Policy Act


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Course Title: Basic NEPA: The Law, Logic, and Language of the National Environmental Policy Act
Course ID: POL-302
Status: OPEN
Date(s): November 14, 2017: 8:30am - 4:30pm
November 15, 2017: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Location: University of Phoenix-Sacramento
2860 Gateway Oaks Drive, Bldg. B-#100
Sacramento, CA
Instructor: Owen Schmidt
Tuition: $645 / $595*
$545 / $495* (Before October 14, 2017)

 

Description:

Description*Updated 8/2017 

Attendees will learn the basic and fundamental principles of NEPA practice in this 2-day course all the way from what NEPA is and where it came from, through how it works and when it applies, all the way through scoping NEPA documents and techniques to review the adequacy of NEPA documents.  Completion of this course is excellent preparation for getting the most out of our Advanced NEPA** course. 

All NEPA processes are explained: Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact (EA/FONSI), and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Included is a substantial handout with graphic models, updated case lists that support the models, and sample documents.  All materials are based on statutes, regulations, and NEPA case law.  Attendees may wish to keep the course material to serve as a reference in the workplace.  

Major themes include: how to make the findings required by law; how to make the finding of no significant impact in particular; the giving of reasons; timing the NEPA process to the decision making process; all good legal reasons not to prepare an EIS; scoping a reasonable range of alternatives; and an approach to the cumulative impacts analysis that complies literally with the regulatory definition of cumulative impacts.  Discussions and questions are encouraged. 

DID YOU KNOW

The NEPA-implementing regulations have not been significantly amended since they were first published in 1978.  But NEPA case law is constantly evolving as new issues are presented to the courts and new judicial opinions are published.  This course is updated according to the latest judicial opinions.

DID YOU KNOW

The categorical exclusion is an exclusion from an EIS but it is not an exclusion from NEPA. Instead, it is one of three processes for compliance with NEPA, along with the EA/FONSI and the EIS. This course covers the NEPA process including scoping, supplementation, and tiering.

DID YOU KNOW

Determinations of compliance with other environmental statutes are integral to the preparation of an EA or an EIS.  Thus the Endangered Species Act and the National Historical Preservation Act, for example, are woven into the course material along with other statutes and Executive Orders. 

** For an advanced, seminar-style discussion of NEPA issues, attend our one-day Advanced NEPA Workshop, immediately following this course. There is a $50 discount when purchasing the 2 courses together. **

Intended Audience:

This workshop is designed to serve both as a comprehensive introduction for those new to NEPA and a refresher for more experienced professionals. The course is beneficial for federal agency staff and decision makers, attorneys, consultants, as well as members of environmental organizations and interested citizens who are concerned about the environmental effects of federal actions. Those who have taken this course in years past will benefit from updated materials based on the newest judicial opinions. Even those who have worked with NEPA their entire careers will stand to learn more about the secrets to successful NEPA compliance.

Continuing Education Units: 1.30 CEUs

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Course Topics

DAY 1

Writing the Perfect FONSI

Ultimate conclusions
Basic conclusions
Evidence
Reasons

Timing the NEPA process to the decision making process
Idea
Proposal
Recommendation or report
Decision action
Monitoring, supplements

Eight good reasons not to prepare an EIS

Writing the perfect EA or EIS
Eight plain-language questions any EA or EIS should readily answer

Writing the perfect ROD
Double winnowing
SCOPE: Alternatives
Proposal for action
Need underlying the proposal
Action alternatives:
- Alternative places to go
- Alternative ways to get there
No-action alternative
Mitigation not included in the proposal
Decision factors

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis
Actions:
-Reasons to lump
-Reasons to split

Impacts:
-Direct, indirect, and cumulative
-Increments to past, other present, and reasonably
foreseeable future actions

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis, continued

Administrative Record

DAY 2

SCOPE: Alternatives
Proposal for action
Need underlying the proposal
Action alternatives:
- Alternative places to go
- Alternative ways to get there
No-action alternative
Mitigation not included in the proposal
Decision factors

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis
Actions:
-Reasons to lump
-Reasons to split

Impacts:
-Direct, indirect, and cumulative
-Increments to past, other present, and reasonably
foreseeable future actions

Writing the perfect cumulative impacts analysis, continued

Administrative Record

About the Instructor

Owen Schmidt

Owen Schmidt

Owen L. Schmidt, BA, MA, JD, has more than 32 years of service with the Federal Government. He has served as Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel in Portland, Oregon, where he advised the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other USDA agencies in Washington and Oregon. He was also a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Oregon. Before joining USDA in 1991, he was an attorney for the Bonneville Power Administration, where he joined the legal staff after several years as an Environmental Specialist. Mr. Schmidt received his J.D. from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College (1977), and a B.A. (1969) and M.A. (1973) in biology from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. Mr. Schmidt is a frequent author and lecturer on the National Environmental Policy Act. He served as a Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Book Publication Committee for the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and as a Vice President for the Ninth Circuit, The Federal Bar Association. He was the Editor of Oregon Birds, a quarterly journal of Oregon Field Ornithologists, for 14 years (1985-99), and is a long-time member of the Oregon Bird Records Committee.

What to Bring

Pen or pencil, coffee mug, and a water bottle (to reduce waste). Drinks and snacks will be provided each day. Lunch will be on your own.

Billing Information

In order to guarantee a space in a course, the tuition must be paid in full TWO WEEKS before the first day of the course by either check or credit card. State and government agencies paying with a purchase order are allowed payment under the two-week time frame if a copy of the purchase order is received by NWETC.

If You Need to Cancel

Cancellations*

  • With 31 or more days notice, we will offer a 100% refund or credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With 30-8 days notice, we will offer a course credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With fewer than 8 days notice, there is no course credit available


*Please note that attendee replacement is welcome at any time

Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations:

To request disability accommodations, please contact us at [email protected] or 425-270-3274 at least 30 days prior to the event.


Directions

  • From:

  • To:
  •   2860 Gateway Oaks Drive, Bldg. B-#100 Sacramento, CA 95833

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*Reduced tuition available to employees of Native American tribes, nonprofits, and government agencies; students; and NAEP members.

If you have any trouble registering please call (425) 270-3274 ext 103
Please wait to receive a course confirmation email, roughly one month prior to the class, before making any travel arrangements. Please review what to bring!

 

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