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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-06/Topic 19-02 [Completed]

Legal Aspect of Environmental Permitting in the Emergency Response Environment
[ NCHRP 20-06 (Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $47,000
Research Agency: Carlos Sun, University of Missouri & Douglas Williams, St. Louis University
Principal Investigator: James B. McDaniel
Effective Date: 5/20/2013
Completion Date: 12/30/2014

Every state system of highways and bridges (highway infrastructure) has been adversely affected by natural and other disasters. These events include storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, fires, drought, acts of terrorism, and catastrophic failures related to the ravages of use and time. Highway infrastructure can be severely damaged and even destroyed by such events, and there is often a need to expedite clean-up and repair or reconstruction of the damaged structure or facility.
 
Often in the emergency situations that result from these catastrophic events, the best of participants is demonstrated. Disasters have created circumstances not typically encountered in highway rehabilitation, construction, and reconstruction projects, leading to unique challenges and opportunities. Essential environmental and other regulatory requirements of resource agencies can be achieved on an expedited basis. The federal government, states, and local governments have made successful efforts to expedite the resumption services and use of facilities.
 
The above scenario presents an opportunity for a research project that will compare and contrast environmental resource, regulatory, and other processes that various governmental entities use to facilitate recovery from catastrophic events. Government agencies stand to benefit from these case studies that demonstrate successful responses to the challenges faced.  
 
The research product will include 1) surveys of governments at the various levels for actions and processes; 2) applicable case law, statutes, regulations, and other authorities; and 3) identification of techniques and strategies to expedite recovery.


Status
: The final report was submitted in September 2014, and it is currently under for review for publication in the NCHRP Legal Research Digest series.

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