Tip 2: Minding Your Ps and Ts (Pages and Time)

Key Points

  • Begin the EIS process by setting your page and project schedule goals.
  • Keep the team informed and hold team members accountable.
  • Determine page budgets for the entire document and each section of the document, and adhere to them.
  • Complete as many tasks as possible before the NOI is released.

Create schedule and task “health monitoring” checklists. Monitor progress frequently and regularly. Make course corrections weekly or biweekly (Tip #3).

Minding Your Ps (Pages)

  • Determine an initial page budget for each section to guide planning (see sample attached). Identify what should stay in, what can become reference materials, and what can be eliminated.
  • If utilizing a contractor to prepare a NEPA document, incorporate page and schedule requirements into the contract.
  • Develop a detailed, annotated page budget, with pages allocated by subsection. Factor in tables, figures, maps, and other supporting material.
  • Establish clear roles, process, and expectations for monitoring document size and content and making course corrections.
  • Focus the purpose and need statement to the specific project and bureau’s authorities and correspondingly the range of reasonable alternatives (see Tip #6).
  • Scope out (screen out) content that is not related to significant impacts or essential for an informed decision (see Tip #7). Include the type of analysis and level of detail expected on significant issues.
  • Design document structure to minimize redundancies and extraneous material.
  • Minimize explanations, especially where expected impacts are negligible and minor.
  • Develop a plan to combat the tendency to think that more is better.
  • Incorporate by reference, and do not repeat the material being incorporated.
  • Use graphics (maps, figures, tables) in place of text where appropriate (see Tip #8).
  • Put detailed information, such as unique analysis methodologies, in an appendix or on-line reference document (see Tip #10).
  • Empower your writers and editors to adhere to page limits. Good writers and technical editors can be worth their weight in gold.

Minding Your Ts (Time)

  • Establish clear roles, processes, and expectations for monitoring the schedule and making schedule changes and course corrections.
  • For an EIS, break the schedule into two parts: 1) pre-NOI activities; and 2) the one-year schedule to prepare a Final EIS.
  • Optimize the one-year period after the NOI is released by identifying and conducting activities that could occur before NOI publication (see sample list attached).
  • When developing the EIS project schedule, include
    • critical action dates
    • reviews, revisions, and approvals
    • printing and distributing the document
    • filing the document with USEPA
    • and timelines for consultations, if applicable
  • Prepare and maintain a series of project schedules targeted to each of the principal EIS audiences: project management team, writing team, internal bureau and attorney review team, first line SES, and DOI Review Team.
  • Ensure interim schedule adjustments are agreed upon by key staff and quickly provided to the team and to management.

Sample Checklist of Pre‐NOI Activities

Sample Page Budget for Initial Planning​


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