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Environmental impact considered as Lab expands

National Environmental Policy Act protects and preserves resources.
April 26, 2018
an aerial shot of the lab

2016, a categorical exclusion was written for the proposed use of unmanned aerial systems (such as drones and remote control aircrafts) for security, research, and emergency management within Laboratory restricted airspace. A categorical exclusion means the proposed actions do not require further environmental analysis because they do not pose a significant effect on the human environment.


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The NEPA process helps make decisions that are based on scientific understanding of environmental consequences.

Environmental impact considered as Lab expands

“The NEPA process helps make decisions that are based on scientific understanding of environmental consequences and helps to assist projects that take actions to protect, restore, and enhance the environment,” says Jennifer Payne, group leader in the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division.

NEPA staff at the Laboratory review proposed projects to analyze potential environmental impacts and to determine if the activities have existing coverage under current NEPA documents issued by the DOE. If the proposed activities pose no impact to the environment and have been previously evaluated by existing NEPA documents, NEPA staff will approve the proposed activities.

In 2016, Laboratory staff reviewed approximately 1,190 proposed projects for NEPA coverage. If projects are not covered under an existing NEPA document, further analysis and documentation—such as an environmental assessment—are required to obtain NEPA coverage.

A supplement analysis evaluates whether the existing NEPA document is sufficient, or if additional evaluation and documentation is required. Two supplement analyses were prepared in 2016, and no additional NEPA documentation was required.


Originally published in the 2017 Annual Site Environmental Report Summary.