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[en] As contained in the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, 40 CFR 1500--1508, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) directs federal agencies to adopt their own procedures for implementing the Act. The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS) are two examples of federal agencies with dissimilar but functionally equivalent CX processes. The DOE and USFS were selected as subjects for this study because of their distinctly different missions and as a results of the author's familiarity with the policies of both agencies. The objectives of this study are to: (1) describe the CX policies and processes of the two agencies, (2) identify the similarities and differences between the two processes, and (3) suggest ways for improving these processes. In performing this evaluation, the authors will identify the components of each agency's CX process that clearly contributes qualitative information for the purpose of making environmental planning decisions. Drawing from the best elements of each process, the authors will provide some general recommendations that should enable the agencies to fulfill their various obligations to the CX process while concurrently performing early, thorough, and expeditious environmental reviews under NEPA
[en] The cumulative effects of increasing human use of the ocean and coastal zone have contributed to a rapid decline in ocean and coastal resources. As a result, scientists are investigating how multiple, overlapping stressors accumulate in the environment and impact ecosystems. These investigations are the foundation for the development of new tools that account for and predict cumulative effects in order to more adequately prevent or mitigate negative effects. Despite scientific advances, legal requirements, and management guidance, those who conduct assessments—including resource managers, agency staff, and consultants—continue to struggle to thoroughly evaluate cumulative effects, particularly as part of the environmental assessment process. Even though 45 years have passed since the United States National Environmental Policy Act was enacted, which set a precedent for environmental assessment around the world, defining impacts, baseline, scale, and significance are still major challenges associated with assessing cumulative effects. In addition, we know little about how practitioners tackle these challenges or how assessment aligns with current scientific recommendations. To shed more light on these challenges and gaps, we undertook a comparative study on how cumulative effects assessment (CEA) is conducted by practitioners operating under some of the most well-developed environmental laws around the globe: California, USA; British Columbia, Canada; Queensland, Australia; and New Zealand. We found that practitioners used a broad and varied definition of impact for CEA, which led to differences in how baseline, scale, and significance were determined. We also found that practice and science are not closely aligned and, as such, we highlight opportunities for managers, policy makers, practitioners, and scientists to improve environmental assessment.
[en] Section 184.108.40.206 of the Table of Contents reference on Page v and on Page 12 of the Corrective Action Plan for Corrective Action Unit 490: Station 44 Burn Area, Tonopah Test Range, Nevada erroneously refers to the Nevada Environmental Policy Act Determination. The correct title of the referenced document is the National Environmental Policy Act Determination
[en] Reshaping the system of taxation towards ecologic objectives by introduction of new, environment-oriented taxes affecting industrial production factors would adversely affect the ecologic and economic progress and in the end would give advocates of this policy the lie. Approaches for amendment of the tax system more strongly implementing environmental policy objectives should rather be based on legal incentives given by the system of taxation for enhanced investments and innovation, as well as pinpointed tax benefits, than on new taxes skimming off the financial means required for investments and innovation. Inudstry has been playing a positive and active part in the efforts for enhanced protection of the environment. Industry's self-commitment programme for greenhouse gas abatement has meant an important step forward. It is now up to the legislator to open up new room for action in support of environmental policy goals, instead of barring the road by new taxes. (orig.)
[de]Die Oekologisierung des Steuersystems durch Neueinfuehrung umweltpolitisch motivierter Steuern auf Produktionsfaktoren der Industrie ginge entgegen allen Verheissungen ihrer Befuerworter zu Lasten von oekologischem und oekonomischem Fortschritt. Wenn das Steuersystem fuer umweltpolitische Ziele genutzt werden soll, kann dies nur durch Verbesserung der steuerlichen Rahmenbedingungen fuer Investitionen und Innovationen sowie durch gezielte Entlastungen, nicht aber durch die steuerliche Abschoepfung der dafuer benoetigten Mittel erreicht werden. Die Industrie setzt sich mit konstruktiven Beitraegen fuer Fortschritt im Umweltschutz ein. Ihre Selbstverpflichtung zum Klimaschutz ist ein grosser Schritt nach vorn. Es liegt in der Hand der Gesetzgebung, weitere Spielraeume fuer mehr Umweltschutz zu oeffnen, statt sie durch Steuern zu verschuetten. (orig.)
[en] Proposed actions tend to evolve over time. Once National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation is completed, agencies are at risk that subsequent changes may not be adequately covered or that existing NEPA documentation maybe completely invalidated. Neither NEPA nor its subsequent regulations provide sufficient direction for determining the degree to which a proposed action may change before preparation of new or supplemental documentation is necessary. Yet, decisionmakers are routinely involved in determining if a change to a proposed action departs, to such an extent, from the description presented in the NEPA document that additional documentation is necessary. Experience demonstrates that no two decisionmakers will completely agree, one decisionmaker might believe that a particular change would not require additional documentation, while the other concludes the exact opposite. Lacking definitive direction, decisionmakers and critics alike may point to a universe of potential considerations as the basis for defending their claim that a change in an action does or does not require new or additional NEPA documentation. Assertions are often based on equivocal opinions that can be neither proved nor disproved. Moreover, decisionmakers are frequently placed in an arduous dilemma of justifying a decision, for which there is no generally accepted methodology on which to base the decision. Lack of definitive direction can prolong the decisionmaking process, resulting in project delays. This can also lead to inappropriate levels of NEPA documentation, inconsistencies in decisionmaking, and increased risk of a legal challenge because of insufficient documentation. Clearly, a more systematic and less subjective approach is needed, A tool for streamlining the NEPA process, by reducing this degree of subjectivity, is presented in this paper
[en] The thesis of this paper is that gas, although free from pollution problems is nevertheless more benign generally appreciated. The obstacles to gas penetration are flawed environmental legislation, political factors and,in some areas, a cost disadvantage relative to other fuels which turn out to be higher than the environmental premium which society is prepared to pay. (Author)
[en] This introductory chapter outlines the problems taken up by the following chapters for more detailed discussion, as e.g. fossil and non-fossil energy supply and related waste management problems, energy conserving strategies, risk assessment, and models and time surveys for the transition to long-term designed, environmentally compatible energy systems. (DG)
[de]Als einfuehrende Problematisierung werden die Zusammenhaenge der fossilen und nicht-fossilen Energiever- und -entsorgung aufgezeigt. Vor allem werden Fragen des Energiesparens, des Risikos und der Stufung von Zeitspannen fuer den Uebergang zu einem langfristigen umweltvertraeglichen Energiesystem eroeffnet. (DG)
[en] Scenario analysis, an approach to thinking about alternative futures based on storyline-driven modeling, has become increasingly common and important in attempts to understand and respond to the impacts of human activities on natural systems at a variety of scales. The construction of scenarios is a fundamentally social activity, yet social scientific perspectives have rarely been brought to bear on it. Indeed, there is a growing imbalance between the increasing technical sophistication of the modeling elements of scenarios and the continued simplicity of our understanding of the social origins, linkages, and implications of the narratives to which they are coupled. Drawing on conceptual and methodological tools from science and technology studies, sociology and political science, we offer an overview of what a social scientific analysis of scenarios might include. In particular, we explore both how scenarios intervene in social microscale and macroscale contexts and how aspects of such contexts are embedded in scenarios, often implicitly. Analyzing the social 'work' of scenarios (i) can enhance the understanding of scenario developers and modeling practitioners of the knowledge production processes in which they participate and (ii) can improve the utility of scenario products as decision-support tools to actual, rather than imagined, decision-makers.