Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

Emil Morhardt

Reader 2

William Christian

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© 2014 Stephanie C. Oehler


Nearly 45 years ago, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law to become the first national policy for the environment of the United States. As it has evolved over time through implementation and litigation, numerous countries and states around the world have emulated NEPA with similar environmental impact assessment requirements. Many scholars have evaluated the success of the legislation in accomplishing its lofty goals. Most commonly, however, these studies address the procedural performance of agencies through the creation of environmental impact statements. This thesis examines the effectiveness of NEPA in accomplishing its substantive, rather than procedural, goals by identifying a set of values essential to meeting the fundamental intent of the Act. The values are then evaluated in the context of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project to determine whether or not the NEPA process was effective in this case and to derive lessons for its future implementation.