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  • Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in the group area discussions are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government, the Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration.
Edited: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM

NEPA Writing Style

Is there an official "manual of style" that is used in preparing NEPA documents? For example has the CEQ determined which style manual (AP, CMS, MLA, etc) is the correct manual of style to use when preparing NEPA documents.
I am sure this is a pointless question but I am curious. 
2012-01-23 16:18:58
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
I have used the Shipley Style Guide and the Improving Environmental Documents manual for years it is a great starting point for organizing your documents. We would recommend these documents to consultants working for the Department.
1/27/2012 2:19 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
NEPA Specialist
Along with reference to "...statements shall be written in plain language..." (CEQ 1502.8), CEQ 1502.10 identifies a "Recommended format".
Also noteworthy is FHWA's Memo supporting the report titled'Improving the Quality of Environmental Documents' in which you can find here:
1/26/2012 5:36 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Steve Hall
I've used the Shipley Style Guide for years.

Shipley also publishes "How to Write Quality EAs and EISs." Also, you might want to look at "Improving the Quality of Environmental Documents," which isn't a style guide but has some good information(though I think they go too far by recommending stating every header as a question).

Shipley Guide.

How to Write Quality EISs and EAs

Improving the Quality of Environmental Documents
1/26/2012 4:51 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Rob Ayers
I'm not aware of any CEQ-specified style.  As other posters have indicated, I suspect CEQ does not have a required style guide (nor do I suspect CEQ would want to venture into that issue).

CEQ has weighed in on "reducing paperwork" (40 CFR 1500.4)  I think this is as close to prescribing a "style" as CEQ wants to get.
1/26/2012 10:30 AM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Joe Robinson
This is all that I have seen re the "correct" writing technique for federal documents, in general. It emphasizes clarity rather than style:

Plain Writing Act of 2010: Federal Agency Requirements
The Act requires the federal government to write all new publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents in a "clear, concise, well-organized" manner.

While the Act does not cover regulations, two separate Executive Orders emphasize the need for plain language. E.O. 12866 says that regulations must be "simple and easy to understand, with the goal of minimizing uncertainty and litigation..." (Sec. 1, Par. (b)(12)) and E.O. 12988 says that each regulation must specify its effect "in clear language". (Sec. 3 Par. (b)(2)).

OMB has posted a Best Practices Guide for regulations. They are accepting comments on the draft Guide.
1/24/2012 1:56 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Rod Vaughn
Some state DOT's specify a certain style in their NEPA documents, but FHWA does not have a required style.
1/24/2012 1:40 PM