NEPA Know-How

Five Little-Known Facts About the National Environmental Policy Act

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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the granddaddy of America's environmental policy. Signed into law in 1970, it took on and tamed a 'build first' culture where huge federal projects were developed with little coordination or public involvement, and with few considerations aside from the resulting economic benefit.

Like many grandpas cut from the cloth of the Vietnam Era, NEPA is still jutting out its cast-iron chin today. It's far from perfect, but it has good intentions and carries a simple demand that you know how to handle yourself when you cross paths with it. If you're a lawyer, consultant or government specialist who deals with NEPA on a regular basis, you may think you know every wrinkle in its craggy face and starched-white legal precedent in its closet. But NEPA's got a few surprises hidden under the surface. So please join us as SmartComment cracks open the old man's attic trunk and shares some surprises about this enigmatic figure, who almost single-handedly transformed our country's environmental culture -- and is pretty much the reason we were able to start a company that makes public comment software in the first place.

Posted on December 31, 2015
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We Went to a Planning Conference

SmartComment Spent a Weekend with California County Planners. Here’s What We Learned.

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As SmartComment continues to talk and work with a wider group of clients -- from transportation project teams to environmental agencies to local governments -- we are repeatedly impressed by the public entities we see embracing new ways of doing things. For example, the agency leader who makes sure that data from a public comment period remains accessible and digitally preserved instead of scattering into file cabinets and manila folders. Or the public outreach official, tasked with setting up a public hearing, who uses laptops and a website to provide electronic comments alongside the usual stack of comment cards.

Posted on October 30, 2015
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Five Reasons for SmartComment

Still Relying on Written or Emailed Public Comments? Here’s Why You Need to Upgrade

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We were excited to announce the news last week about our latest client, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, chucking its former comment period process in favor of a fully integrated electronic comment management system from SmartComment. In charge of protecting the beauty and natural resources of that state, the Wyoming DEQ will now use our public comment software to manage more than 1,000 comment periods per year related to air and water permits, environmental rule changes and other sensitive ecological matters -- assuring that the viewpoints of the public members they serve are heard and handled with the most secure, convenient, and easy-to-manage method available.

Here are the top five reasons we think your forward-thinking, publicly engaged regulatory agency should follow their example and switch to SmartComment as well:

Posted on September 30, 2015
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The Interstate Blues

SmartComment Lays Out The Nation's Highway Funding Alternatives

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Imagine for a second that you have the coolest job in the world (besides working for SmartComment, of course). You've got responsibility, exciting travel, even a small touch of fame. And because we're all adults here, let's assume you also have dependents. But not just a few. We're talking 250 million of them. Oh, and there's one more catch: Instead of receiving a paycheck commensurate with your status and obligations, you make a lot less. Like, basically your old junior high allowance from 20-plus years ago.

Posted on August 19, 2015
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