What is a DEIS?
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is a document that analyzes the potential environmental effects of the various alignments identified for the remaining 6.5 miles of U.S. 95 from Thorncreek Road to Moscow.
A DEIS also:
- Is a document required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA was signed into law in 1969. It requires that federal agencies consider impacts of their actions on the natural and human environment.
- Outlines the project limits, purpose and need for the project. It identifies a range of reasonable alternatives and analyzes the potential impacts of the alternatives.
- Involves the public
- This process ensures that the public and agencies have the opportunity to learn about the alternatives and the environmental impacts.
- It also gives the public and agencies the opportunity to provide input.
- Includes supporting technical reports which analyze the different facets of the environment and the potential effects of the alternatives to the human and natural environments.
- Serves as a disclosure document. This means the DEIS can and will be used as a tool for decision-makers. It helps them understand the project limits and lays out the purpose and need for the project. It also helps them more effectively weigh the benefits and impacts of each alternative.
The Idaho Transportation Department continues to move forward with plans for the U.S. 95, Thorncreek Road to Moscow Project.
The final eastern route (E2) for the highway was chosen after a multi-year environmental review process. The Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the project in 2016, giving ITD authority to begin final design and purchase land.
A legal motion was brought against FHWA and ITD in 2017 regarding the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision. The U.S. District Court for Idaho ruled against the motion in favor of FHWA and ITD in August 2017.
Project opposition appealed that decision in January 2018. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision on December 7, 2018.
ITD will continue right-of-way acquisition and submit a 404 permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After those two steps are completed, the project can be put out for construction bids. Work could begin as early as late summer 2019.
Please call Ken Helm at (208)799-5090 if you have any questions about the project.