Hundreds, if not thousands of Environmental Impact Statements, or EIS analyses, are conducted by the federal government each year on projects across the country ranging from pipelines and highways to national park infrastructure and grazing. The government is constantly studying and reviewing the environmental impact of these projects on their local communities and delivering back assessments that can range from hundreds to thousands of pages.
These analyses are done throughout more than a hundred different offices and agencies from the U.S. Department of the Interior to organizations like the U.S. Maritime Administration.
Like all of the projects that are evaluated each year, pipelines in America are permitted through a scientifically rigorous process that involves environmental experts and engineers from numerous federal, state, and local government agencies. These individuals see projects like these across the country and take in past and present information to assist them as they evaluate these projects. When presented with a new pipeline project, responsible agencies deploy scientists to study the pipeline as well as the environment where it will be built.
Those scientists and experts include biologists, materials scientists, hydrologists, archeologists, clean air and water experts, acoustic engineers, visual resource managers, species experts, chemists, structural engineers, and more.
Each agency relies on the advice and reports provided by these experts to ensure that pipelines are built and routed in a way that minimizes environmental impacts, during both construction and operation. These scientific reports often result in the assessors changing certain aspects of the pipeline project’s original plans by presenting environmental data that ensures that a pipeline is built to the exact specifications required by the environment where the pipeline will be built. While it is human to err, these individuals’ jobs are to ensure that we get to the absolute best analysis to minimize any projected risks.
This rigorous scientific process spans most major scientific disciplines and ensures that biodiversity, plant and animal species, and ecosystems are at the forefront of any permitting decision. By navigating these complex federal, state, and local permitting requirements, it helps the public be sure that the pipeline and the environment are both being held in the same regard to the most rigorous scientific standards.
For further explanation from an agency themselves, below is a video from the Environmental Protection Agency describing their best practices for environmental permitting.
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