Course

NEPA and Advanced NEPA 3-Day


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Course Title: NEPA and Advanced NEPA 3-Day
Course ID: POL-550
Status: OPEN
Date(s): January 23, 2018: 8:30am - 4:30pm
January 24, 2018: 8:30am - 4:30pm
January 25, 2018: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Location: Capitol Skyline Hotel
10 I St. SW
Washington DC, DC
Instructor: Owen Schmidt
Tuition: $690

*This course is a private offering for BLM and other approved agency staff. Only approved attendees may register.

 

Description:

*This course is a private offering for members and affilliates of the US Bureau of Land Management. You Must have an invitation from the BLM to enroll.

Basic NEPA: The Law, Logic, and Language of the National Environmental Policy Act (Two Days)

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. 

Advanced NEPA-An intensive one-day seminar with solutions to the most difficult NEPA problems (One Day)

You’ve been to training on the basics, the fundamentals, the essentials, the step-by-step.  You’ve been to refreshers and updates.  It’s time to take the National Environmental Policy Act to the next level – Advanced NEPA. 

NEPA is often criticized for costing too much, taking too long, and accomplishing too little.  If you have any role in the NEPA process, you have a stake in the answers discussed in this seminar. 

You are encouraged to bring your own questions for discussion and resolution.  This is a seminar format with significant time reserved for discussion rather than lecture.  Handout materials are substantial and based on statutes, regulations, and case law rather than on opinion or past practice. 

Expect a fast-paced day.  During this seminar the questions that do not arise in the basic courses will be asked and answered – questions related to the categorical exclusion, the environmental assessment, the finding of no significant impact, and the environmental impact statement.

"But for Mr. Schmidt, I would know next to nothing about NEPA. Now I understand some of the larger issues and can think through basic problems. I have learned a lot. Instructor of great impact." Anonymous, October 2015

"This class is full of useful hints, tips and shortcuts to NEPA documentation"   Anonymous, April 2015

"Tons of content! As a new practitioner, this course provided tremendous context and foundational information that I would never have received if I hadn't taken the course. I would even take it again! Owen Schmidt is wonderful! Completely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and accessible (not just his personality but his delivery of course content)."  R. Gilliam, March 2013

“[Owen Schmidt] created a very relaxed atmosphere which promoted class participation.  As a beginner to NEPA I was able to gain a lot of insight.” D. Lieb, May 2013

"[Liked] the major points on how to write purpose and need, determining alternatives, and cumulative impacts.  Also on determining significance and disclosing methods." M. Worah, July 2013

 

Intended Audience:

BLM Staff and invited representatives of other agencies.

Continuing Education Units: 2.10 CEUs

More Information

Course Topics

Basic NEPA

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

Advanced NEPA:

Types of questions that will be asked and answered:

  • What is an extraordinary circumstance that would take an action normally excluded out of consideration for categorical exclusion?
  • Is a no-action alternative absolutely necessary in an environmental assessment?
  • What is an environmental baseline?
  • What is an appropriate alternative for a proposal involving unresolved conflicts over alternative uses of available resources? 
  • What is an adverse environmental effect that cannot be avoided?
  • When is an issue or matter relevant and when is it not?
  • What is the threshold for supplementing an EA?
  • Can a programmatic EIS on a long-term plan of actions be supplemented with dozens, scores, or even hundreds of EAs/FONSIs on the many actions that implement the plan of actions over time?  If the plan of actions has significant consequences, at what point does the accumulation of implementing actions become significant?  

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

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:
  •   10 I St. SW Washington DC, DC 20024

Accommodations

 



*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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