The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that was signed into law on January 1, 1970 by U.S. President Richard Nixon. In the United States, there are numerous environmental laws. Although they have diverse purposes they all relate to the protection of the Natural environment and New Year See also New Year The Ancient Romans began their consular year on January 1st since 153 BC Year 1970 ( MCMLXX) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The President of the United States is the Head of state and Head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in United States by The focus of the law was the establishment of a U. S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment, but its most significant effect was to establish the requirement for environmental impact statements (EISs) for major U. An environmental impact statement, in the United States, is a document that must be filed when the federal government takes a "major Federal action significantly S. federal government actions.
NEPA came into existence following widespread protests against the federal government's destruction of neighborhoods and the natural environment while building Interstate highways during the 1950s and 1960s. The Dwight D Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly called the Interstate Highway System (or simply the Interstate System) The law has since been applied to any project, federal, state or local, that involves federal funding or work performed by the federal government. Although enacted on January 1, 1970, its "short title" is "National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. " It was passed as P. L. 91-190 and is codified at through . Title 42 of the United States Code is the title of the United States Code dealing with Public health and Social welfare Title 42 of the United States Code is the title of the United States Code dealing with Public health and Social welfare
The preamble reads:
The law includes two primary sections:
The law establishes the National environmental policy, including a multidisciplinary approach to considering environmental amenities in decision making. The law also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The Council on Environmental Quality ( CEQ) is a division of the White House that coordinates federal environmental efforts in the United States The CEQ prepared the regulations implementing the law that apply to all agencies. These regulations are found at 40 CFR Parts 1500 to 1508. Perhaps most notably, the law requires federal agencies to prepare a statement to accompany reports and recommendations for funding from Congress. The United States Congress is the bicameral Legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses This document is called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An ( EIA) is an assessment of the possible impact&ndashpositive or negative&ndashthat a proposed project may have on the Natural environment. The definition of actions requiring the EIS includes "major federal actions significantly affecting the human environment. " Thus, before implementing any "major" or "significant" or "federal" action, the agency must consider the environmental impacts of that action, identify unavoidable environmental impacts and make this information available to the public in the EIS. All these conditions must be satisfied before implementing the proposed action.
A major federal action has been expanded to include most things that a federal agency could prohibit or regulate. In practice, a project is required to meet NEPA guidelines when a federal agency provides any portion of the financing for the project. Sometimes, however, review of a project by a federal employee can be viewed as a federal action and would then, therefore, require NEPA-compliant analyses be performed.
NEPA requires that an EIS must include descriptions of:
Federal regulations provide for the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine whether or not the proposed action fits within the definition of actions that require an EIS. An EA considers the impacts of the proposed action and alternatives. It may conclude with a recomendation to prepare an EIS or it may conclude with a recommendation to prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). An EA must generally include the same contents, but may be briefer. The specific content of an EA is dictated by the specific section of the Code of Federal Regulations relating to the involved federal agency. If more than one federal agency is involved in a particular project, multiple EAs may be required. For example, a project involving both the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture will require an EA specific to each federal agency prior to the project's approval.
EISs and EAs are environmental documents written under the direction of a federal agency to aid in decision making. They explore feasible alternatives to a proposed action, and the likely environmental consequences of those actions. NEPA sought to put environmental concerns on par with economic motivations and technological feasibility when making a decision that could affect the environment. Hydrological/geological, biological/ecological, social and health are among the consequences considered. Hydrology (from Greek Yδωρ hudōr, "water" and λόγος logos, "study" is the study of the movement distribution and quality of Geology (from Greek γη gê, "earth" and λόγος Logos, "speech" lit Foundations of modern biology There are five unifying principles Ecology (from Greek grc οἶκος oikos, "house(hold" and grc -λογία -logia) is the scientific study of A society is a Population of Humans characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals that share a distinctive Culture and Institutions Health is a state of complete physical mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity More recently, archeological, historical, cultural impact analyses, and financial management plans for an action have been added to the EIS process.
The CEQ has taken strides within the past several years to prepare advisory documentation to explain the general structure of the environmental document, the nature of cumulative impacts and other advisories. The CEQ also maintains a helpful web site at www.nepa.gov.