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The NEPA Program Area provides guidance, policies, and examples of federal regulations and Agency policies for the implementation of NEPA, including the development of environmental assessments (EA), environmental impact statements (EIS), findings of no significant impact (FONSIs), and other NEPA related documentation.

As part of the effort to increase transparency in the Federal Government, Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade,

As a part of day-to-day activities and long-term planning, Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, states that agencies should:

  • Ensure regional agency actions consider and are consistent with, sustainability and climate preparedness priorities of States, local governments, and tribal communities where agency facilities are located;
  • Include in the planning for new buildings or leases cost-effective strategies to optimize sustainable space usage and consideration of existing community transportation planning and infrastructure, including access to public transit;
  • Ensure that all new construction, major renovation, repair, and alteration of agency buildings includes appropriate design and deployment of fleet charging infrastructure;
  • Include the incorporation of climate-resilient design and management elements into the operation, repair, and renovation of existing agency buildings and the design of new agency buildings;
  • Ensure, beginning in fiscal year 2020 and thereafter, that all new construction of Federal buildings greater than 5,000 gross square feet that enters the planning process is designed to achieve energy net-zero and, where feasible, water or waste net-zero by fiscal year 2030.

The following definitions from EO 13693 are applicable to this Program Area:

  • Agency - an executive agency as defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code, excluding the Government Accountability Office (EO 13693, Section 19, para b).


  • Federal Facility - any building or collection of buildings, grounds, or structures, as well as any fixture or part thereof, which is owned by the United States or any Federal agency or that is held by the United States or any Federal agency under a lease-acquisition agreement under which the United States or a Federal agency will receive fee simple title under the terms of such agreement without further negotiation (EO 13693, Section 19, para l).


  • Net-zero Energy Building - a building that is designed, constructed, or renovated and operated such that the actual annual source energy consumption is balanced by on-site renewable energy (EO 13693, Section 19, para o).


  • Net-zero Water Building - a building that is designed, constructed, or renovated and operated to greatly reduce total water consumption, use non-potable sources as much as possible, and recycle and reuse water in order to return the equivalent amount of water as was withdrawn from all sources, including municipal supply, without compromising groundwater and surface water quantity or quality (EO 13693, Section 19, para p).


  • Net-zero Waste Building - a building that is operated to reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, or recover solid waste streams (with the exception of hazardous and medical waste) thereby resulting in zero waste disposal (EO 13693, Section 19, para q).

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Regulations, Guidance, and Policy
The National Environmental Policy Act was one of the first laws ever written that establishes the broad national framework for protecting our environment. NEPA's basic policy is to assure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that significantly affects the environment.
This guide provides practitioners with a tool to improve NEPA implementation and achieve the environmental sustainability goals laid out in NEPA and Executive Order 13423. The guide provides examples of how NEPA and EMS together can help federal agencies more effectively manage their environmental responsibilities. For example, identifying environmental aspects in the development of an EMS can build on aspects identified in previous NEPA analyses. Conversely, a new NEPA analysis can consider the identified environmental aspects in an EMS when assessing potential environmental impacts of a proposed future action.
Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Quality
5 Mar 1970 and amended by EO 11990
Under this EO, the Federal Government must provide leadership in protecting and enhancing the quality of the nation’s environment to sustain and enrich human life. Federal agencies must initiate measures needed to direct their policies, plans and programs so as to meet national environmental goals.
Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade
19 March 2015
The goal of EO 13693 is to maintain Federal leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Signed by President Obama on 19 March 2015. Section 16 of this EO revokes the following:
  • Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007;
  • Executive Order 13514 of October 5, 2009;
  • Presidential Memorandum of December 2, 2011 (Implementation of Energy Savings Projects and Performance-Based Contracting for Energy Savings);
  • Section 1 of Presidential Memorandum of February 21, 2012 (Driving Innovation and Creating Jobs in Rural America through Biobased and Sustainable Product Procurement); and
  • Presidential Memorandum of December 5, 2013 (Federal Leadership on Energy Management); and
  • Presidential Memorandum of May 24, 2011 (Federal Fleet Performance).
Need help understanding Executive Order (EO) 13693? Want to know more about how to take action and turn your building into a high-performance building? The Sustainable Facilities Tool can walk you through EO 13693. Click through the annotated text for definitions, strategies, and links.
This GSA-developed chart summarizes the major provisions of Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability for the Next Decade, and how they differ from prior authorities.
Guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality to assist Federal agencies with their NEPA procedures so that environmental justice concerns are effectively identified and addressed.
Full-text of 40 CFR 1500-1518.
This Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) memorandum, issued 6 March 2012, provides guidance on the opportunities available in the regulations implementing NEPA in an efficient and timely manner. This guidance clarifies that many of the NEPA regulations specifically referring to Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) provide efficiencies that can also be used by Federal agencies when preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA).
The compendium is intended to provide examples and case studies in several priority areas identified by the NEPA Task Force.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on September 7, 2012, issued a joint memorandum calling for department and agency commitment to the goals identified in the Memorandum on Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution, and the goals identified in related policy guidance. This memorandum supersedes an OMB/CEQ joint memorandum issued in November 28, 2005, on Environmental Conflict Resolution. It broadens the efforts called for under the 2005 memorandum by explicitly encouraging appropriate and effective upfront environmental collaboration to minimize or prevent conflict. The memorandum applies to all executive branch agencies as they carry out their responsibilities under their organic acts and enabling legislation, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws in effect to manage and conserve our environment, natural resources, and public lands.
This provides guidance on implementing 40 CFR 1506.9 and 1506.10 of the CEQ regulations published in the Federal Register, March 7, 1989, Part II.
PEP - Environmental Statement Memorandum No. ESM03-6. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to bureaus and offices on implementing adaptive management practices in NEPA compliance.
PEP - Environmental Statement Memorandum No. ESM03-7. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to bureaus and offices on implementing consensus-based management in NEPA analyses.
PEP - Environmental Statement Memorandum No. ESM03-5. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to bureaus and offices on implementing integrated analyses under NEPA.
PEP - Environmental Statement Memorandum No. ESM04-4. Contains links to various guidance letters and memorandua on environmental topics concerning how they should be handled under agency NEPA analysis.
Developed by CEQ and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), this handbook that provides advice to Federal agencies, applicants, project sponsors, and consultants on how to take advantage of existing regulatory provisions to align the NEPA process and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 review process. The handbook explains how to align NEPA and NHPA Section 106 processes for maximum efficiency and public input, and provides a series of roadmaps for coordination of the two statutes.
PEP - Environmental Statement Memorandum No. ESM04-5. Appendix I to the CEQ Regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508), which lists Federal and Federal-State agency NEPA contacts.
Signed on August 10, 2005 SAFETEA-LU authorizes the Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the 5-yr period 2005-2009.
This memo, dated 3 April 2009, outlines the reporting requirements with which Executive Branch departments and agencies must comply to satisfy Section 1609(c) of the Recovery Act. The agency funding a project or activity under the Recovery Act is responsible for reporting the status of all NEPA compliance associated with the activity or project. There is a reporting template and instructions included in the memo.
The Integrated Federal Interagency Environmental Justice Action Agenda (2000) represents an important step in the implementation of Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations." Under Executive Order 12898, Federal agencies are directed to make achieving environmental justice an integral part of their missions. The Action Agenda seeks to build upon creative solutions emanating from communities.
This 12 May 2010 CEQ memorandum clarifies that the previous guidance remains applicable to current situations and provides guidance on required agency environmental review. Agencies should distribute this guidance to field offices developing and taking actions in response to emergencies along with the agency s relevant guidance on emergency actions and NEPA.
Supporting Information and Tools
 
Databases/Software Tools
Version 3.0 of this NEPA tool incorporates over 100 Department of Defense and Army policies, supported by a number of guidance and technical references on cultural resources, master planning, endangered species, noise, and other subjects generally included in NEPA analyses. It also contains the full text of federal legislation and regulations relating to these subjects. Also included in the CD is a glossary with over 250 fully referenced words and phrases commonly used in NEPA analyses. The updated CD includes an internal search engine, two tables of contents for easy access to information, and a link to updated information available online.
This site provides access to a compilation of datasets from multiple Federal agencies (i.e., DOE, EPA, GSA) concerning multiple aspects of energy. Examples of available datasets include data about: Energy Star products; Energy Star buildings; energy use analysis; hydropower generation data; DOE NEPA documentation, and EPA geospatial data.
Starting 1 October 2012 Federal agencies are required to use e-NEPA for submitting environmental impact statements (EISs).
This is an interactive web-based mapping tool that provides the public with access and information on Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) filed with EPA for major projects proposed on federal lands and other proposed federal actions. When visiting the website, users can click on any state for a list of EISs, including information about the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of these projects.
This tool uses high resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially elevated environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN's simple to understand color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience.
Find maps and other imagery, upload, and rectify against a real map. You can then download and use the rectified map in your mapping applications.
The roster search and referral system is accessible to anyone contemplating the use of consensus building and dispute resolution services where environmental, natural resources, or public lands issues are involved.
This site is made available to federal staff and contractors working to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and other related environmental reviews and permitting processes. This site is part of pilot effort at the US Department of Energy (DOE) - Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance to evaluate providing IT web services as a shared service, hosted on the cloud, and using only Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).
A web-based mapping tool developed for Federal agencies to facilitate more efficient and effective environmental reviews and project planning. The tool is part of an initiative developed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and it draws information from publicly available federal, state, and local datasets, allowing NEPA practitioners, stakeholders and the public to view information about environmental conditions within the area of a proposed project quickly and easily at early stages of project development.
This program is an approach to regional scale, priority-setting assessment being developed by EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD). ReVA integrates research on human and environmental health, ecorestoration, landscape analysis, regional exposure and process modeling, problem formulation, and ecological risk guidelines. Rhe scope of ReVA is to conduct pilot assessments that focus on one geographic region that is well characterized biologically. The ReVA program is responsible for the collection, management, and analysis of multiple data sources to evaluate environmental conditions and known stressors within the Mid-Atlantic region. This website includes a basic introduction to the environmental vulnerability assessment approach, and an overview of the ReVA tools and their applications.
This database contains examples of streamlining and stewardship practices used by states to efficiently and effectively fulfill their NEPA obligations.
The objective of this tool kit is to provide a user-friendly, web-based source of methods, strategies, and procedures for integrating land use and transportation planning, decision-making, and project implementation.
Directories/Catalogs/Newsletters
A list of NEPA websites by Agency.
A list of points of contact by Agency.
A Federal Highway Administration monthly newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining practices from around the country.
Libraries/Repositories
Each agency of the Federal government is required to comply with the CEQ Regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the Act, and, in consultation with CEQ, to develop their agency specific procedures to ensure that environmental information is available to the public and the agency decision makers before decisions are made and actions taken. This resource is a compendium of Federal agency NEPA procedures.
Access to all Environmental Impact Statements listed in the Federal Register. All EISs prepared by federal agencies are filed with EPA. Each week, EPA publishes in the Federal Register a Notice of Availability for all of the EISs filed the previous week. The EPA Notice of Availability is the official start of the public comment/wait periods required under the Council on Environmental Quality's regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act.
Summaries of legal challenges and their results.
Organizations/Programs
The Council coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. Congress established CEQ within the Executive Office of the President as part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Additional responsibilities were provided by the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970.
A government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.
This network was formed when the U.S. EPA joined with several non-profit and government organizations in response to increasing community concerns about the need for new ways to grow that boost the economy, protect the environment, and enhance community vitality. The Network's partners include environmental groups, historic preservation organizations, professional organizations, developers, real estate interests, local and state government entities.
This group was established under Executive Order 12898 in 1994 and is comprised of eleven federal agencies and several White House offices.
NEJAC was established September 30, 1993.The NEJAC Executive Council consists of 26 members appointed from key environmental justice constituencies, which include community-based groups; business and industry; academic and educational institutions; state and local governments; tribal governments and indigenous organizations; and non-governmental and environmental groups. The NEJAC also has seven subcommittees to help develop strategic options for EPA. These subcommittees report to the NEJAC Executive Council. Each subcommittee consists of approximately 6 to 13 individuals knowledgeable in the subject area. Members are drawn from the NEJAC Executive Council as well as from other stakeholder organizations. The subcommittees are: Air and Water; Enforcement; Health and Research; Indigenous Peoples; International; Puerto Rico; and Waste and Facility Siting.
Supporting Information and Tools Bottom Border
 
Lessons Learned
The newly available guide explains the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and how it is implemented, as well as how people outside the Federal government--individual citizens, private sector permit applicants, members of organized groups, and representatives of Tribal, State, or local governments--can better participate in the Federal environmental impact assessment process.
Developed by an inter-agency steering team, Eco-Logical encourages Federal, State, tribal, and local partners involved in infrastructure planning, design, review, and construction to use flexibility in regulatory processes. Specifically, Eco-Logical puts forth the conceptual groundwork for integrating plans across agency boundaries, and endorses ecosystem-based mitigation - an innovative method of mitigating infrastructure impacts that cannot be avoided.
This report documents an initiative of transportation practitioners nationwide to improve the quality of Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs) written to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
This document will help GSA staff, contractors, and other GSA associates carry out the requirements of NEPA in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508) and GSA Order ADM 1095.1F (Environmental Consideration in Decisionmaking).
Guidance on how to implement the NEPA process.
A task force reviewed NEPA implementing practices and procedures in the following areas: technology and information management and security; federal and intergovernmental collaboration; programmatic analyses and subsequent tiered documents; and adaptive management and monitoring. In addition, the NEPA Task Force reviewed other NEPA implementation issues such as the level of detail included in agencies' procedures and documentation for promulgating categorical exclusions; the structure and documentation of environmental assessments; and implementation practices that would benefit other agencies.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton has signed a record of decision (ROD) that establishes guidelines for wind energy development and expedites approval of proposed projects in Western states. The programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for wind energy development establishes mitigation measures, best management practices, and other guidelines for wind energy development on Bureau of Land Management lands. The document, completed as a requirement of NEPA, will serve as the basis for environmental reviews of individual projects. By "tiering" off the programmatic EIS, individual projects would require less lengthy environmental assessments, and as a result, proposed wind projects could be approved in less than 1 yr, as opposed to 2 yr or longer.
Training, Presentations, and Briefings
This is a seminar format with significant time reserved for discussion rather than lecture. Handout materials are substantial and based on statutes, regulations, and case law rather than on opinion or past practice. Expect a fast-paced day. During this seminar the questions that do not arise in the basic courses will be asked and answered - questions related to the categorical exclusion, the environmental assessment, the finding of no significant impact, and the environmental impact statement. it will be assumed that attendees will know the vocabulary, the acronyms, and the basic NEPA process. Attendees should be at least vaguely familiar with the statute, the regulations, and the guidance memoranda. Attendees should have substantial experience in the preparation of NEPA documents, their approval, or litigation over their adequacy. Project managers, senior environmental professionals, seasoned NEPA practitioners, writers and editors, legal counsel, and decision makers themselves will get the most out of this seminar.
This one hour web-based course makes available consistent, high quality environmental justice training to Federal personnel across the country.
This training course will present the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) practitioner with a set of practical skills for preparing either an Environmental Assessment (EA) / Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and includes all the required content, as well as practical skills for safely leaving out unnecessary content. NEPA lessons will come from various project examples. This workshop is designed to serve both as a comprehensive introduction for those new to NEPA and a refresher for more experienced professionals.
Offered by Utah State University, this is a 12-credit graduate level Certificate that can be completed as a stand-alone Certificate or as part of a graduate degree. The NEPA Certificate Program was designed to prepare natural resource and environmental professionals to meet the challenges of complying with the act and working effectively on NEPA documents. The program can be completed using either short-courses offered in various locations across the country, or online using webinars developed in the short-course format, or a combination of short-courses and webinars.
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Last Updated: October 20, 2015