The National Environmental Permitting Act (NEPA) was enacted to establish policy, set goals, and provide means for environmental protection. The Act requires agencies to objectively assess the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. Veritas conducts the socioeconomic analyses that are required in these assessments.
Example NEPA Projects
Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project
Veritas supported the Alaska Energy Authority’s (AEA) efforts to characterize changes in recreation demand and social welfare for the recreator populations likely to be affected by the Susitna-Watana hydroelectric project. Veritas developed and distributed the Alaska Outdoor Recreation Survey and compiled the data to build recreation demand models for fishing, boating, hunting, and snow machining. The research was conducted as part of the Socioeconomic and Transportation Resources Study Plan for use in the Federal Energy Regulator Commission’s (FERC) Integrated Licensing Process (ILP). Under the ILP, FERC staff, pursuant to the NEPA, will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, which FERC will use to determine whether, and under what conditions, to issue a license.
Ocoee River Dams Licensing
The Ocoee River in Tennessee is one of the most popular rivers in the eastern United States for whitewater rafting. Creating the water flow to support Ocoee River rafting trips requires restricting otherwise available hydropower generation. Veritas evaluated the existing economic characteristics of the southeastern rafting market and its effects on local businesses and residents using linked simulation models. These models were used to evaluate the economic impacts of three alternative action plans in support of NEPA requirements. Outputs of the model include changes in consumer surplus (a dollar measure of the value that rafters derive from rafting trips); rafting trips taken, and expenditures by rafters taking single or multiple day trips by expenditure type.
Brown Bridge Dam Removal
The Brown Bridge Dam is one of three dams that were studied as part of the Boardman River Dams study. Under the dam removal determination the Boardman River Dams Ecosystem Restoration Project is one of the largest dam removal projects in the Great Lakes Basin. The project is reconnecting over 160 miles of a cold-water river system and restoring hundreds of acres of wetlands and habitat. Veritas applied the recreation models developed in the Boardman River Dams project to evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of removing the Brown Bridge dam in support of the required NEPA permitting.