Analysis of Environmental Impact Statements for Highway Projects in North Carolina

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Title: Analysis of Environmental Impact Statements for Highway Projects in North Carolina
Author: Carrasco, Luis Eduardo
Advisors: Dr. Erin Sills, Committee Chair
Dr. Gary Blank, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Fred Cubbage, Committee Member
Dr. Yu-Fai Leung, Committee Member
Abstract: The objectives of this research were (1) to discover associations among economic and environmental factors of highway projects considered in environmental impact statements from 1980 to 1999 produced by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and (2) study whether this information changed through time, including whether a discernible change occurred when biodiversity regulations were introduced. Multivariate analyses tools were used for this purpose with data collected from 43 EISs. Two main relationships were found, between geographical region and environmental impacts, and between environmental impacts and economic characteristics of projects. While a relationship between geographical region and environmental impacts was expected, the relationship between environmental impacts and economic characteristics of a project was not. This relationship suggests that more environmental impacts occurred or are identified in high-income counties. However, information pertaining to farmland potentially impacted is reported inconsistently in NCDOT documents and cannot be used reliably for comparison purposes. For this reason, environmental impacts in lower-income counties may be seriously underestimated. According to the variables selected for this study, and assuming they effectively represent biodiversity treatment in EISs, logistic discrimination analyses provided some evidence that the CEQ regulation of 1993 concerning treatment of biodiversity had an effect on EISs. This effect might suggest either an improvement in data quality and/or an increase in the attention given to impacts to wetlands and to endangered species included in EISs because of demands from the regulation. Economic factors and impacts to property in EIS, and of geographic location, environmental impacts, and environmental assessment factors showed significant time trends. However, these relationships have not been affected by environmental regulation.
Date: 2002-07-16
Degree: MS
Discipline: Forestry
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1137


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