How does NEPA and the EIR process facilitate retaining historic properties?
Federal projects, or projects with federal funding, licensing or permit approval, follow processes outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA includes cultural resources preservation within its general policy for environmental protection. It requires the preservation of important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage
An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describes the project and justifies its purpose and need. It then determines whether significant impacts will occur to protected resources affected by the project, and outlines efforts to avoid, reduce or mitigate impacts to below a level of significance. Alternatives are required and feasible alternatives must be adopted.
Transportation projects are also governed by Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act which forbids federal funding to be used on any project that adversely affects parklands, wetlands, cultural or historical resources and archaeological sites.