National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 was established to ensure that Federal
agencies consider the environmental impacts of their actions and decisions.
Federal agencies are required to systematically assess the environmental
impacts of their proposed actions and consider alternative ways of
accomplishing their missions, which are less damaging to and protective of the
environment. The Council on
Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA regulations, along with each Federal agency’s
NEPA implementation provisions, provide the framework for carrying out the NEPA
environmental review process.
CEQ and U.S. DOT NEPA procedures ensure that environmental
information is available to public and agency officials and citizens before
decisions are made and before actions are taken. NEPA documents (such as
Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements) must concentrate
on the environmental issues that are truly significant to the action in
question, rather than amassing needlessly detailed information. Ultimately, it
is not better documents but better decisions that count. NEPA’s purpose is not
to generate paperwork—even excellent paperwork—but to foster excellent action.
The NEPA process is intended to help public officials make informed decisions
that include an understanding of environmental consequences, and pursue
solutions that meet the project need while protecting, restoring, and enhancing
NEPA applies to major federal actions (new and continuing activities that are
entirely or partially financed, assisted, conducted, regulated, or approved by
one or more federal agencies). It has been ODOT’s practice to apply the
NEPA process to actions that have the potential to significantly impact
the human environment, even if the project does not meet the definition of
major federal action.
For additional information regarding the NEPA statute as well as
CEQ regulations and guidance, see the NEPA.gov website.