National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

 One
of the first laws ever created to
protect the environment
 Came into effect due to public
concern about the deteriorating
human environment and the
environmental impacts of major
federal projects.
The intent of NEPA is to insure safe,
healthful productive, and esthetically
and culturally pleasing surroundings.
 The basic policy is to assure that all
branches of government give proper
consideration to the environment prior to
undertaking any major federal action.
The Santa Barbara Oil Spill was the
leading catalyst for the act.
 Another driving force were the Freeway
Revolts that occurred in the ‘60’s when
the interstate highway system was being
 The law has since been applied to any
project federal state or local that
involves federal funding
Introduced in the Senate by Henry M.
Jackson on February 18, 1969
 Agreed to by the Senate on December
20, 1969 and by the House of
Representatives on December 23, 1969
 Signed into law by Richard Nixon on
January 1, 1970
Three important sections:
- The statement of national
environmental policies and goals
- The establishment of action-forcing
provisions for federal agencies to
enforce those policies and goals
- The establishment of a Council of
Environmental Quality in the Executive
Office of the President
Who are they?
- a division of the Executive Office of the President that
organizes federal environmental efforts in the United States
What do they do?
- Work closely with agencies and other White House offices
in the development of environmental and energy policies and
o Under NEPA, CEQ works to balance environmental,
economic, and social objectives in pursuit of NEPA's goal of
"productive harmony" between humans and the human
Categorical Exclusion (CE)- actions which do not have a significant effect
on the human environment and do not need an environmental assessment
or an environmental impact statement.
Environmental Assessment (EA)- When the significance of impacts of a
transportation project proposal is unknown, an EA is made to help make
this decision. If it is found that there will be significant impacts, there will
be an EIS implemented.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)- NEPA requires Federal
agencies to prepare EISs for major Federal actions that affect the
quality of the human environment. An EIS is a document that states
the process through which a transportation project was developed.
It includes a range of reasonable alternatives, analyzes the possible
impacts resulting from the alternatives, and demonstrates
cooperation with other environmental laws and executive orders
CEQ process chart
EPA. (n.d.). National Environmental Policy Act. US EPA. Retrieved
August 24, 2011. From
FEMA. (n.d.). National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FEMA.
Retrieved August 24, 2011. From

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