How to Review a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Copyright 1984, David E. Ortman

[Note, this file may be copied so long as author credit is given.]


The Council on Environmental Quality has issued EIS regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act. These can be found at 40 Code of Federal Register (CFR) Parts 1500-1508. In addition, each Fe deral Agency has adopted its own EIS regulations.

Agency preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) begins with a scoping notice. This identifies the impacts and alternatives that the DEIS will address. It is extremely important that citizens participate in the scoping process. I f you have a feasible alternative, it may become part of the DEIS. In addition, it is more difficult to raise environmental issues after the DEIS has been issued if no one has raised them as part of the scoping process.


Skim the DEIS. Locate and mark the actual impact statement from what may be several Appendixes.


The impact statement is divided into four main parts: a) Purpose of and Need for Action; b) Alternatives including Proposed Action (if known); c) affected Environment; and d) Environmental Consequences.


Your job as a reviewer is to help the agency produce a better environmental impact analysis. With a colored marker read through the DEIS carefully. Make notes in the page margins and draw arrows to the following: