Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc.
Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc.

Breakthrough Approach to Environmental Assessments Benefits Industry, Regulators, and Public

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is used by federal agencies to assess the potential undesired impacts of a proposed industrial activity. The process is subjective, long, and inefficient. The costs to industry and the public are very high, and too many decisions are made by the courts. Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc. has developed a solution that requires no statutory or regulatory change, produces higher quality results more quickly and at lower overall costs.

Troutdale, OR, September 19, 2005 --( Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc. is pleased to announce the availability of a breakthrough in the preparation of NEPA documents that removes subjectivity and avoids the three major reasons decisions are challenged in the courts. The company's techniques produce higher quality results more quickly and at lower costs than do the traditional approach. The method can be applied to state environmental permitting processes as well as those of other countries. This breakthrough is the most important improvement to the conduct of environmental impact assessments in more than three decades while it definitively answers the critical question of all environmental assessments: will the project have significant negative impacts on the environment, economy and social values?

The new method uses the FuzzyEI-AssessorTM computer program to eliminate the three most common criticisms of traditional assessments: inclusion of all values and beliefs during the scoping process, equal evaluation of each proposed project alternative, and basis upon which the decision is made. The process is completely transparent, produces an audit trail of how each final value was calculated from input data, and is guaranteed to be technically sound and legally defensible.

"All environmental assessments reflect subjective societal values," says Dr. Richard Shepard, President of the company. The modern approach quantifies subjectivity, objectively measures the value of existing conditions and project alternatives, and gives decision-makers solid support for their decisions. It also strongly encourages all stakeholders, NGOs and other interest groups to participate and share their values and beliefs at the earliest stages of the assessment process. The breakthrough approach uses the rigorous mathematics of fuzzy set theory and fuzzy logic in a new application area for these techniques. Shepard notes that, "in our experience with environmental assessments not all groups have their values represented equally in the public scoping phase, the alternatives are not consistently analyzed with the same standards and the decision-makers have no objective criteria to compare proposed project alternatives with the existing conditions. Our method addresses all these short-comings quickly and consistently so regulators can confidently make the proper decision."

Other innovations that are part of the breakthrough approach include the calculation of an Environmental Condition Index (ECI) for the existing environment as well as as for the projected future environments under the various alternatives and the ability to combine qualitative (observational) data with quantitative (measured) data when establishing baseline conditions. This provides more baseline data in a shorter time and is often more representative of natural ecosystem variabilitiy. Agency decision-makers are given the existing conditions and each proposed alternative as a value between 0.0 and 1.0 so there is solid support for their decision. How each of those numbers is derived is explained by the software application using numbers and graphs to make it easy to understand. This audit trail can become part of the formal Record of Decision.

A comprehensive review of the traditional approach, explanation and justification for the breakthrough methods, and an example based on an actual Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at the Port of Vancouver (USA) in Washington state are in Dr. Shepard's book, "Quantifying Environmental Impact Assessments Using Fuzzy Logic," published by Springer-Verlag in their Series on Environmental Management (in bookstores by the end of April, 2005). "This approach will be appreciated and valued by all companies that have experienced frustration, delay, and high cost in past impact assessments," says Shepard. To learn more about how your company can benefit from this new system call the company 503-667-4517, send a fax to 503-667-8863, or e-mail a message to

Dr. Richard B. Shepard, President
Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc.
2404 SW 22nd Street
Troutdale, OR 97060-1247 USA
503-667-4517 (voice) | 503-667-8863 (fax)

Applied Ecosystem Services, Inc.
Rich Shepard