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 is continuing to work on final design plans and right-of-way appraisals for the U.S. 95, Thorncreek Road to Moscow Project. ITD anticipates this work will be completed this spring.
The Federal Highway Administration and ITD evaluated many alternatives for the new highway alignment, including western, central and eastern routes. The final eastern route (E2) was chosen after a multi-year environmental review process. ITD received a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Highway Administration in March of 2016. The ROD gave ITD the authority to begin final design and purchase land.
A legal motion was brought against FHWA and ITD regarding the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for this project. In August 2017, the U.S. District Court for Idaho ruled against the motion in favor of FHWA and ITD. In January, an appeal to the ruling was filed in the ninth circuit court. The deadline for ITD and FHWA to comment on the appeal is March 31, 2018. ITD does not anticipate a decision until sometime later this year.
Please call Ken Helm at (208)799-5090 if you have any questions about the project.