Formulating Alternatives for Environmental Studies

by David R. Boone, (A.M.ASCE), Sr. Civ. Engr.; Wheeler & Gray Consulting Engineers, Los Angeles, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 3, Pg. 527-538

Document Type: Journal Paper


Recent changes in the regulations governing environmental studies have placed increasing emphasis on the identification of alternatives. An overview of the requirements for the identification of alternatives under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the revised Guidelines of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is presented. Several court interpretations of NEPA regarding alternatives are examined together with legal and institutional constraints inhibiting the consideration of a broad range of alternatives. The paper focuses on examples from the field of water resources planning. The key elements of: (1) Using a broad perspective in defining objectives; (2) seriously considering nonconstruction alternatives; and (3) consulting and coordinating with interested parties are identified as being essential in complying with NEPA with respect to the formulation of alternatives.

Subject Headings: Environmental issues | Water resources | Court decisions | Consulting services

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