Tracking the development, cost, and schedule of NEPA documents generated during Environmental Assessment (EA), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) activities are an important measurement of efficiency of the successful implementation of NASA's environmental goals and regulatory responsibilities. Timely and efficient completion of review activities is also vital to maintaining programmatic cost and schedules.
NASA performs multiple NEPA analyses each year at its Centers and component facilities. The NEPA process determines what type of analysis is performed, and the metrics below track the following three categories of NEPA documents:
- Environmental Assessment (EA) – An EA documents proposed actions or activities that could possibly have a significant impact on the human environment or if it is unclear if there are any significant impacts. If there are no significant impacts then the decision is documented as a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). If there will be significant impacts, then the decision is documented as a Notice of Intent (NOI) and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process will be initiated.
- Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – An EIS documents proposed actions or activities expected to have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. The EIS will describe the proposed action, any alternative actions that were identified, and the environmental impacts associated with the alternative actions. The decision on which action to implement is documented by a Record of Decision (ROD).
- Executive Order (EO) 12114 – The EO specifically provides that its purpose is to enable Federal agencies to be informed of pertinent environmental considerations, and factor such considerations in their decisions; however, agencies must still take into account considerations such as foreign policy, national security, and other relevant special circumstances (EO 12114, Sections 1-1 and 2-5).
Figure 1 below shows the quantities of documents by category developed by the entire Agency over the 10-year period from 2000 to 2010. No trending pattern in the development of documents should be inferred as the scope and frequency of document development is a result of the NEPA process and the life-cycle phases of NASA programs.
Figure 1: NASA NEPA Documents by Year 2000 to 2010
Figure 2 below shows a distribution of NEPA documents by NASA Center or component facilities for the 15-year period from 1995 to 2010. This figure shows that NEPA analyses are performed across the entire Agency as part of a robust environmental program at NASA.
Figure 2: NEPA Analysis by NASA Centers or Component Facilities 1995 to 2010