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Title: The meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act within the U.S. Forest Service
Author: Stern, Marc J.; Predmore, S. Andrew; Mortimer, Michael J.; Seesholtz, David N.;
Source: Journal of Environmental Management. 91: 1371-1379
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Description: We conducted a survey of 3321 Forest Service employees involved in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) followed by five focus groups to investigate agency views of the purpose of agency NEPA processes and their appropriate measures of success. Results suggest the lack of a unified critical task for Forest Service NEPA processes and that employees’ functions relevant to NEPA influence their views of its meaning. Compared to other agency personnel, members of interdisciplinary teams who carry out most day-to-day NEPA-related tasks placed greater emphasis on minimizing negative environmental and social impacts, satisfying multiple stakeholders and avoiding litigation and appeals. Line officers, who typically serve as the decisionmakers following NEPA processes, placed greatest emphasis on efficient implementation and least emphasis on minimizing impacts. Advisory personnel placed greatest emphasis on effective disclosure of analyses and decisionmaking. We discuss the structural origins of these differences as well as their implications.
Keywords: accountability, critical task, discretion, National Environmental Policy Act, U.S. Forest Service
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Stern, Marc J.; Predmore, S. Andrew; Mortimer, Michael J.; Seesholtz, David N. 2010. The meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act within the U.S. Forest Service. Journal of Environmental Management. 91: 1371-1379.
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