Parks & BOR Admit the EIR Violates Federal Regulations
Background – Over several decades, State and National environmental reports have gotten so lengthy and complicated that the people they’re supposed to protect can no longer read them. The Draft ASRA Expansion documents totaled over 1500 pages, with another 700+ in the Final Report.
To allow most people access to what is in the report, a Federal Executive Order now REQUIRES that federal environmental reports issued in response to NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) be limited to 300 pages.
The EPA wrote to Parks & BOR (page 3-64 of the Final EIR/EIS-508):
“…The current DEIS has incorporated by reference sections of a separate document that describe the existing conditions of the project area for all potentially impacted resources. This method of providing relevant information creates challenges for reading the NEPA document. EPA recommends that brief summaries of the existing conditions be included in the EIS document itself, in addition to the incorporation by reference…”
Parks’ response to the EPA comment included:
“The comment correctly summarizes that, as described under Section 4.1.1, Contents of Environmental Analysis Sections, of the Draft EIR/EIS, each resource analysis section of the EIR/EIS notes that applicable sections of Chapter 2, Existing Conditions, in the Preliminary GP/Draft RMP and the Auburn State Recreation Area Resources Inventory and Existing Conditions Report (Existing Conditions Report) are incorporated by reference. Additionally, the impact analysis, includes cross-references to specific tables or other pieces of information in the GP/RMP or Existing Conditions Report, as necessary. For example, in the analysis of construction-generated emissions under Impact 4.2-1 in Section 4.2, Air Quality, of the EIR/EIS, the text includes a cross-reference to Table 2.2-2 in Chapter 2, Existing Conditions, which provides the attainment status for criteria pollutants. Reclamation deemed this approach necessary to meet the environmental review streamlining requirements of Executive Order (EO) 13807 and Secretarial Order (SO) 3355. EO 13807 limits environmental documents to 150 pages for typical projects or 300 pages for unusually complex projects. In compliance with EO 13807, Reclamation received a waiver for the length of this document, which exceeds the 300-page limit, however including a summary of existing conditions within each relevant section of the EIS would cause the EIS to exceed the page limitations granted in that waiver.“
In other words, despite a direct request from the EPA, Parks and BOR will ignore the size limitations and write their report the way they usually do. Too bad if it is unreadable and violates Federal Regulations.