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The National Academies

NCHRP 25-25/Task 43 [Final]

Guidance on legal sufficiency criteria for adequate cumulative and secondary impacts analysis in EIS documents
[ NCHRP 25-25 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on the Environment) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $40,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Lawrence Pesesky (Louis Berger)
Effective Date: 1/28/2008
Completion Date: 8/1/2008
Comments: The project has been completed and the final report submitted to AASHTO

To meet the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), a transportation agency must evaluate the secondary and cumulative impacts of proposed transportation projects, along with the direct impacts, in Environmental Impact Statements or Environmental Assessments. The Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) define cumulative effects as “the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-federal) or person undertakes such other actions” (40 CFR ~ 1508.7). Secondary, or indirect, impacts are defined as “effects which are caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable.” (40 CFR 1508.8(b). In spite of these definitions, the legal sufficiency of many such analyses of indirect and cumulative impacts have been called into question by the courts. 

The final project report provides guidelines on the most effective ways to analyze cumulative and indirect impacts in the context of NEPA requirements.  The c
ontractor's final report was sent to AASHTO and NCHRP 25-25 panel.  The final report is also available here.

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