Program Areas
Quick Reference


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.

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Regulations, Guidance, and Policy
Executive Orders and Laws
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.
Efficient Federal Operations
17 May 2018; Revoked by: EO 13990, 20 January 2021 – except for Sections 6, 7, and 11
It is the policy of the United States that agencies shall meet such statutory requirements in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment. In implementing this policy, each agency shall prioritize actions that reduce waste, cut costs, enhance the resilience of Federal infrastructure and operations, and enable more effective accomplishment of its mission. This EO rescinds EO 13693.
These instructions issued by the Chairman of the CEQ to Federal agencies for meeting energy and environmental performance requirements in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment, as required under E.O. 13834.
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 CEQ website links to relevant U.S. codes, public laws, guidance, and resources to assist agencies in implementing E.O. 13834.
Full-text of 40 CFR 1500-1518.
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.
CEQ issued guidance, CEQ-NEPA-2020-01, in a memorandum to the heads of Federal departments and agencies (agencies) to assist agencies with compliance with the NEPA during emergencies. The CEQ regulations implementing NEPA provide for alternative arrangements during emergencies when an agency's action is likely to have significant effects and would require preparation of an environmental impact statement. This guidance also addresses compliance with NEPA when the action is unlikely to have significant effects and might require preparation of an environmental assessment or application of a categorical exclusion.
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).
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.
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 memorandum, dated 20 March 2018, contains guidance2 for agencies to carry out responsibilities under EO 13807, which requires Federal agencies to process environmental reviews and authorization decisions for "major infrastructure projects" as One Federal Decision(OFD).
Other Guidance
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.
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Supporting Information and Tools
Databases/Software Tools
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
A list of points of contact by Agency.
A Federal Highway Administration monthly newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining practices from around the country.
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.
For USACE NEPA is a tool to help reduce their impact to environment. Additionally NEPA assists USACE to engage with stakeholders early and help formulate alternative solutions to reduce risk. The link below is a fact sheet we developed that answers commonly-asked questions with respect to NEPA.
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.
The Urban Waters Partnership reconnects urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies. The Partnership also collaborates with community-led revitalization efforts to improve our Nation's water systems and promote their economic, environmental and social benefits.
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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.
Link to EPA's Office of Environmental Justice annual progress reports highlighting EPA's recent advancement of environmental justice principles throughout its programs and updates on its latest accomplishments.
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
You've been to training on the basics, the fundamentals, the essentials, the step-by-step. You've been to refreshers and updates. It's time to take the National Environmental Policy Act to the next level – Advanced NEPA. If you have any role in the NEPA process, you have a stake in the answers discussed in this seminar. You are encouraged to bring your own questions for discussion and resolution. 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.
The ACHP offers online courses on Section 106 topics. Each course offers self-paced interactive presentations and downloadable reference documents. Courses of 30 minutes or more offer a certificate of completion and incorporate knowledge checks that let you apply your learning to case scenarios or quiz questions.
This one hour web-based course makes available consistent, high quality environmental justice training to Federal personnel across the country.
The NEPA Application Course (CIN: A-4A-0077) is offered by the Navy. It is presented in a 3-day seminar, provides participants with the legal requirements, Navy policy, procedures and techniques for implementing NEPA, and is the foundation for more advanced NEPA coursework. This course focuses on: selecting the proper document; levels of analysis; public involvement; review process; and impact analysis required under the law. Lectures, case studies and hands-on workshops involving Navy scenarios are part of this in-depth study of NEPA analysis process. The course focuses on documentation and sufficiency requirements for the Categorical Exclusion and Environmental Assessment. The course is taught by an experienced planning practitioner with additional legal support by the Department of the Navy, Office of the General Counsel. The target audience is: DoN, (Navy with Marine Corps and others as space permits) personnel who work with environmental issues in the following areas: Weapon systems acquisition programs; Shore facility operations and management; Real Estate & Facilities Planning; Operational exercises and training; Realignment and base closure actions; Construction Projects; and Range Management.
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.
Learn the basics of project review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This seminar emphasizes practicalities-how to avoid pitfalls and victimization by myths. Discuss recent changes in regulations and procedures, with an emphasis on coordination with the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws. This 3-day seminar is offered by the National Preservation Institute.
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Last Updated: May 03, 2019