CEQ: Steps to Modernize and Reinvigorate NEPA

February 18, 2010

On February 18, 2010, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed four steps to modernize and reinvigorate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in conjunction with its 40th Anniversary.  These measures will assist Federal agencies to meet the goals of NEPA, enhance the quality of public involvement in governmental decisions relating to the environment, increase transparency and ease implementation. 

Enacted in 1970, NEPA is a cornerstone of our Nation’s efforts to protect the environment and a fundamental tool to harmonize our economic and environmental aspirations.  It recognizes that many Federal activities affect the environment and mandates that Federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their proposed actions before acting.  NEPA emphasizes public involvement in government actions affecting the environment by requiring that the benefits and the risks associated with proposed actions be assessed and publicly disclosed.

To modernize NEPA, CEQ has issued draft guidance for public comment on: when and how Federal agencies must consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in their proposed actions; clarifying appropriateness of “Findings of No Significant Impact” and specifying when there is a need to monitor environmental mitigation commitments; clarifying use of categorical exclusions; and enhanced public tools for reporting on NEPA activities.

Read more on the White House Council on Environmental Quality Web site.