Ronald E. Bass, Albert I. Herson, and Kenneth M. Bogdan


Regular price $75.00

Full title: The NEPA Book: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Comply with the National Environmental Policy Act

  • Item# N20
  • ISBN: 978-0-923956-67-7
  • Copyright (c) 2001
  • Paperback
  • Price: $75.00


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A practitioner's handbook that takes you through the critical steps, basic requirements, and most important decision points of the National Environmental Policy Act. With short articles, practice tips, tables, illustrations, charts, and sources of additional information. Formerly called Mastering NEPA: A Step-by-Step Approach.


  1. Background and Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act
  2. Deciding If NEPA Applies
  3. Environmental Assessments and Findings of No Significant Impact
  4. Preparation and Review of an Environmental Impact Statement
  5. Content and Scope of an EIS
  6. Integrating NEPA with Other Environmental Laws
  7. NEPA and the Information Revolution
  8. NEPA and Federal Agency Decision-Making
  9. Judicial Review Under NEPA
  10. The Globalization of NEPA
  11. NEPA's Effectiveness: Have Its Objectives Been Achieved?


Ideal for environmental specialists, agency reviewers and decision makers, attorneys, consultants, students, and citizens who want to effectively influence environmental decisions that shape their communities. Formerly called Mastering NEPA: A Step-by-Step Approach.

This edition includes:

  • Detailed advice on how to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Expanded discussions of Environmental Assessments (EAs), Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs), and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)
  • Flow charts and diagrams explaining the entire NEPA process
  • Chapters on integrating NEPA with other environmental laws, Internet resources for NEPA compliance, the globalization of NEPA, and NEPA's effectiveness
  • Sections on Environmental Justice and International Trade Agreements
  • Discussions of important case law
  • Recent advisory memoranda from CEQ on the implementation of NEPA

The NEPA Book will help you:

  • Determine if and when a particular action is subject to NEPA
  • Decide whether an environmental assessment or a FONSI is appropriate
  • Prepare legally-adequate environmental documents
  • Write effective mitigation measures
  • Understand the relationship between NEPA and other environmental laws


The authors are employed by Jones & Stokes, a consulting firm providing services in environmental planning and natural resources management with offices throughout the western United States. NEPA compliance has been an important component of Jones & Stokes' business since its founding in 1970. Messrs. Bass, Herson, and Bogdan also are the authors of the award-winning CEQA Deskbook: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. In addition, Messrs. Bogdan and Herson are co-authors of the nationally recognized Wetland Regulations: A Complete Guide to Federal and California Programs.

Ronald E. Bass, J.D., AICP is a Senior Consultant with ICF International (formerly Jones & Stokes Associates). Mr. Bass has a professional and academic background in environmental law and planning. He has participated in a broad variety of planning and environmental studies under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and other state and federal environmental laws. He provides strategic advice, peer review and issue resolution related to the implementation of CEQA and NEPA.

Albert I. Herson, JD, FAICP, is a planner and attorney who was practiced, taught, and written about California environmental law for over 30 years. He has focused his practice on helping clients and the planning profession implement CEQA, land use, and natural resource law. He is an attorney with Sohagi Law Group, where he serves as the firm’s Sacramento presence, and advises public agencies on CEQA, NEPA, and land use law compliance.

Kenneth M. Bogdan, Esq., is environmental counsel and environmental education team leader and project director at ICF International. Ken has more than 21 years of experience analyzing issues regarding compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other federal and state environmental laws and regulations.


Signed into law in 1970, the National Environmental Policy Act is one of the nation's oldest, most important, and far-reaching environmental laws. NEPA applies to all federal agencies and most of the activities they approve or carry out. It sets forth the nation's environmental policy, requires federal agencies to consider and disclose the environmental impacts of their proposed actions, and encourages them to make environmentally responsible decisions. NEPA also spawned many individual state environmental impact assessment laws, called mini-NEPAs, and an international environmental impact assessment movement that continues to grow.

Specifically, NEPA requires federal agencies to prepare Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements prior to making decisions. The President's Council on Environmental Quality, referred to as CEQ, which was established along with NEPA, has adopted regulations and other guidance that provide general procedures for federal agencies to follow when preparing these documents. Moreover, each federal agency has adopted its own detailed NEPA procedures, and the federal courts, after more than 30 years of litigation, have played a major role in shaping NEPA's interpretation and implementation.

The NEPA Book: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Comply with the National Environmental Policy Act is a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to NEPA. It integrates NEPA's requirements, CEQ NEPA Regulations, and case law with the authors' practical approaches and recommendations on how to implement the statute successfully. Since it is written for those who prepare, review, and use NEPA documents, the book is especially useful for federal agency NEPA staff and decision makers, consultants, state and local agency staff reviewing NEPA documents, citizens and interest groups wishing to influence the process, and NEPA trainers.

It is a user's handbook. The NEPA Book is not a comprehensive legal reference and does not offer legal advice. Coverage of case law is limited to those NEPA cases that have had the greatest influence on implementation of the law. The legal citations in this book are not exhaustive, but refer primarily to the law itself, the CEQ NEPA Regulations, and CEQ's other guidance on NEPA implementation. For detailed legal treatment, readers should consult additional NEPA publications listed in Further Reading at the end of this book.

The authors wrote Mastering NEPA, the first edition of this book, in the early 1990s, while conducting NEPA training workshops for governmental, private sector, and nonprofit clients. In the course of the training, workshop participants suggested that Mastering NEPA be published as a comprehensive, objective, legally accurate workbook reference that could be used long after the training was done.

This second edition, now called The NEPA Book, greatly expands the information presented in Mastering NEPA, and reflects the most recent case law, changes in agency practices and procedures, and current trends in NEPA compliance. The book also includes new case studies and recommendations for improving implementation along with several entirely new chapters covering key developments in the 1990s, including:

  • Prepararation of legally defensible Environmental Assessments
  • Integration of NEPA with other environmental laws
  • Use of the Internet in NEPA practice
  • The globalization of the law
  • Studies of its overall effectiveness over the past 30 years

The authors of The NEPA Book have devoted their careers to implementing NEPA and state mini-NEPA laws. We have been inspired to do this through helping our clients meet the challenges of environmental compliance and through interactions with thousands of NEPA and mini-NEPA practitioners while leading training courses and giving professional conference presentations.

Through decades of experience, we remain encouraged about NEPA's consistent ability to improve environmental quality by improving federal agency decision making, interagency coordination, and public disclosure. We have also learned from the many practical frustrations and ambiguities that can arise in implementing this complex yet flexible law. Throughout The NEPA Book, we have identified many of these potential pitfalls and have suggested solutions. We hope that the book will inspire our fellow practitioners and others interested in NEPA to join us on our quest to implement the law with energy, excellence, and creativity.