How to Search for Environmental Impact Statements
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires that federal agencies prepare detailed analyses of any of their actions that significantly affect the quality of the environment. Environmental impact statements (EIS's) are the result of this requirement. EIS's have been produced, since 1969, on virtually every type of activity, from oil and gas development to scientific research in Antarctica, and from protection of wildlife habitat to construction of light rail lines.
One of the world's largest collections of environmental impact statements is available for your use in the Transportation Library (University Library, 5th Floor, North Tower). Nearly all of the EIS's issued by federal agencies since 1969 are held, usually in draft as well as final form. Related documents such as environmental assessments, findings of no significant impact, records of decisions, supplementary reports, and maps are collected. A small collection of environmental impact statements issued by individual states and by foreign governments is also maintained. The collection is updated by weekly shipments from the Environmental Protection Agency
EIS's can be searched in the Library catalog, NUcat <http://nucat.library.northwestern.edu>. The easiest way to search for them is to do a Guided Keyword search where the term "EIS" must always be used in conjunction with any other keywords.
If you need to obtain a copy of an EIS in the Transportation Library's collection through Interlibrary Loan, please refer to our Document Delivery & Interlibrary Loan service, which will include our polices, procedures and fee schedule.
The EIS collection is arranged on our shelves alphabetically by sponsoring federal agency, then alphabetically by state, then numerically by final EPA number. The first two digits of the EPA number indicate the year the report was issued. Multi-state EIS's are shelved by the sponsoring agency abbreviation and final EPA number only.
This is an example of a search for an EIS sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the state of Arkansas (AR):
EIS's are also listed on the EPA Office of Federal Activity's web site <http://www.epa.gov/compliance/nepa/index.html> by date of distribution. A keyword search for environmental assessment information can be completed by searching the Federal Register at: http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-IMPACT/.
Print indices for Environmental Impact Statements available at the Transportation Library include:
EIS: digests of environmental impact statements
Published by Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (Bethesda, MD)
Bimonthly; annual cumulative volume.
Organized by broad subject categories and then numerically by EIS number (which is assigned by the
publisher and does not correspond to the EPA number). Each EIS entry has an an abstract; there are
indexes for subject, issuing agencies, geographic area, legislation, etc.
Guide to the environmental impact statement collection
Published by Northwestern University Transportation Library; latest edition 1995.
Lists the EISs that the Transportation Library owns; shelf order listing. Each entry lists volumes held
(draft, final, supplements, background papers, etc.).