||Incorporating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process into the US Coast
Guard’s (USCG) major construction program is generally perceived by facility planners
and engineers as “checking the box”, a waste of resources, or a useless document.
NEPA statutes clearly outline the requirement that federal agencies must address environmental
impacts when making decisions on a major federal action that significantly affects
the quality of the environment. Early incorporation of NEPA into the planning process
reduces costs and avoids potential delays due to unforeseen environmental impacts.
This action should be integrated into the USCG planning processes, but unfortunately
facility planners and engineers perceive it as a document of little value that often
slows the planning process. Observations of project teams and interviews with facility
planners has lead me to believe NEPA analysis is not utilized in the decision making
process but, completed parallel to the planning process and attached to the required
This paper focuses on the USCG Shore Acquisition and Improvements (AC&I) planning
process and the early integration of NEPA. The objective of this paper is to provide
recommendations, which could be implemented to facilitate the integration of the planning
process with early NEPA analysis. This process facilitates a better project by making
well informed decisions, which ensures a better project by avoiding time delays and
cost over runs.