The links below provide information on the NEPA environmental assessment process that apply to the construction of a port for coal export at Cherry Point, Washington. The environmental assessment process for major federal decisions will typically require that an Environmental Impact Statement be written to inform decision-makers. While it provides opportunity for scientific and public input, the resulting Einvornmental Impact Statement does not control what the final decision must be.
EPA Basic NEPA Information: EPA information, links and guidance on the environmental impact assessments of federal decision making.
Title I of NEPA contains a Declaration of National Environmental Policy which requires the federal government to use all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony. Section 102 requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in their planning and decision-making through a systematic interdisciplinary approach. Specifically, all federal agencies are to prepare detailed statements assessing the environmental impact of and alternatives to major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. These statements are commonly referred to as environmental impact statements (EISs).
Wikipedia on the Environmental Impact Statement: This article provides a good summary of the federal environmental assessment process, its stages, and terminology.
The Encyclopedia of Earth: Contains a helpful process diagram for the environmental assessment.
“Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are interdisciplinary analyses of the natural, human health, and socio-cultural effects which are expected to result from public and private sector actions such as development projects. The purpose of these studies is to comprehensively inform decision makers and the affected public about both the proposed action and its alternatives, so that wherever possible significant negative impacts may be avoided, minimized, or mitigated.”