Following the intent of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, many states have adopted policies and procedures directing state agencies and local government units to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of development projects prior to their undertaking. In contrast to a rich literature on federal requirements, current understanding of state environmental review is narrowly focused and outdated. This paper seeks to provide information on the landscape of state environmental review policy frameworks. The paper identifies 37 states with formal environmental review requirements through a document review of state statutes, administrative rules and agency-prepared materials, and confirms this finding through a survey of state administrators. A two-tier classification is used to distinguish states based on the approach taken to address environmental review needs and the scope and depth of relevant policies and procedures implemented. This paper also provides a discussion of policy and programme attributes that may contribute to effective practice, and of the potential for adopting relevant legislation in states where environmental review is currently lacking.
- Environmental impact assessment
- Environmental planning and decision making
- State environmental policy act