Title I of NEPA contains a Declaration of National Environmental Policy. This policy requires the federal government to use all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony.
Section 102 in Title I of the Act requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in their planning and decision-making through a systematic interdisciplinary approach. Specifically, all federal agencies are to prepare detailed statements assessing the environmental impact of and alternatives to major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. These statements are commonly referred to as Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Environmental Assessments (EA).
The role of a federal agency in the NEPA process depends on the agency's expertise and relationship to the proposed action. The agency carrying out the federal action is responsible for complying with the requirements of NEPA. In some cases, there may be more than one federal agency involved in the proposed action. In this situation, a lead agency is designated to supervise the preparation of the environmental analysis. Federal agencies, together with state, tribal or local agencies, may act as joint lead agencies.
How do federal agencies carry out the NEPA requirements?
In 1978, CEQ issued regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) to implement NEPA. These regulations are binding on all federal agencies. The regulations address the procedural provisions of NEPA and the administration of the NEPA process, including the preparation of environmental impact statements. In addition to the CEQ NEPA regulations, CEQ has issued a variety of guidance documents on the implementation of NEPA.
Agency NEPA Implementing Procedures
Each Federal agency is required to develop NEPA procedures that supplement the CEQ Regulations. Developed in consultation with CEQ, Federal agency NEPA procedures must meet the standards in the CEQ Regulations while also reflecting each agency's unique mandate and mission. As a result, NEPA procedures vary from agency to agency.
Further procedural differences may derive from other statutory requirements, agency-specific regulations and guidance, and the extent to which Federal agencies use NEPA analyses to satisfy other review requirements. These include environmental requirements under statutes like the Endangered Species and National Historic Preservation Acts, the Executive Order on Environmental Justice, and other Federal, State, tribal, and local laws and regulations.
This resource is a compendium of Federal agency NEPA procedures. The procedures are listed alphabetically by responsible agency. Some agencies issue their procedures as regulations, others issue them as agency guidance documents. Those that are codified as regulations appear in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Where appropriate, the CFR and Federal Register citations providing notice of the agencies NEPA procedures are provided. Please click on the hyperlinks for additional information and, where available, the full text of the procedures.