Northwest Association of Environmental Professionals

NWAEP-hosted NAEP Webinar: NEPA Case Law Update (7/27)

  • Tuesday, July 27, 2021
  • 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Online via WebEx


On Tuesday, July 27, NAEP will present a NEPA Case Law Update. NWAEP will host a virtual webinar viewing for members.

NAEP Webinar

NEPA Case Law Update

Tuesday, July 27, 2021
8:30–10:00 AM (PST)

Fred Wagner, Director at Large, Venable LLP

P.E. Hudson, Esq., Dept of the Navy, OGC
Michael Smith, Ph.D., Director, WSP USA

NWAEP to host a virtual viewing,
free for NWAEP Members ($5 for non-members)

NAEP's webinar will mirror the Case Law presentation provided during the NAEP 2021 Conference & Training Symposium, with updates as warranted. The webinar is based on a paper that reviews substantive National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) cases issued by United States Courts of Appeals in 2020. The implications of the decisions and relevance to NEPA practitioners will be explained. This presentation will summarize the more detailed paper prepared for the NAEP 2021 Conference & Training Symposium. The paper briefly explains, with an emphasis on the substantive NEPA findings, each opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The paper identifies statistics regarding the NEPA appellate opinions, such as a twelve-year record of NEPA cases, organized by circuit, and by year. The paper also identifies the agencies involved in each case and presents statistics relevant to the agencies; the paper further identifies the prevailing ratio of federal agencies that were challenged, including by agency and by document type (categorical exclusion, environmental assessment, environmental impact statement).

The paper analyzes the trends in the court opinions involving NEPA for 2020, with an emphasis on substantive NEPA practice, and by a grouping of the cases. Finally, each court opinion is paraphrased and organized in a manner easy to read for practitioners to find the court's ruling. Appellate opinions are grouped and analyzed by agency. Past trends include challenges to purpose and need, alternatives considered, public comment, scientific impact assessment methodologies, GHG emissions and climate change impact assessment, incomplete or unavailable information, determination of significance, segmentation, duty to supplement, connected actions, federal actions, cumulative impact assessment, mitigation, monitoring, and adaptive management. Suggestions for improving the implementation of the NEPA process and to meeting current challenges are offered, looking ahead to the future with a renewed emphasis on one of the world's oldest and most forward-looking environmental laws.

For more information about the webinar, please visit NAEP's website.

NWAEP will host a virtual viewing of this webinar for our members. Please RSVP by noon on July 26, using the gray "Register" button in the left column on this page.

We'll email a link to the webinar in a separate e-mail in advance of the webinar. If you have any questions, please contact Jason Medema ( or Josh Jensen (

During the presentation, we ask that our viewers mute themselves and keep their video off to save on bandwidth.

Northwest Association of Environmental Professionals     •     PO Box 11583, Portland, OR 97211         TheNWAEP at gmail dot com 


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