Environmental Impact Statements Defined

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires every agency responsible for a project that uses Federal funds to create an assessment of the project's potential impact on the environment. The agency that produces the environmental impact statement (EIS) is also required to hold public hearings and submit a draft of the EIS for public review and cannot proceed with the project until a final version of the EIS is submitted to the EPA. However, a final does not supersede a draft because the final version will often cite information in the draft without actually including it. Comparison of final versions to drafts may be required for litigation. For more information, see the Ohio State University Factsheet about Environmental Impact Statements.