The Environmental Impact Statement--It Seldom Causes Long Project Delays but Could Be More Useful If Prepared Earlier

CED-77-99: Published: Aug 9, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 1977.

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Contrary to the intent of the National Environmental Policy Act, major decisions were being made to start designing or constructing public works projects before environmental impact statements were completed. The act requires federal agencies to disclose and consider environmental impacts together with economic and technical factors before taking action.

Preparing impact statements is time-consuming, averaging 31 months in 29 cases reviewed. If the statements are prepared while projects are being planned, the environmental, economic, and technical factors can be considered together.

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