U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Needle Field Office|
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is the cornerstone of our Nation's environmental laws and was enacted to ensure that information on the environmental impacts of any Federal, or federally funded, action is available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken. This Act also established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President to formulate and recommend national policies which ensure that the programs of the Federal government promote improvement of the quality of the environment. The NEPA review process is intended to help public officials make decisions that are based on an understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment. NEPA's Forty Most Asked Questions.
The CEQ set forth regulations, Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations 1500-1508, to assist Federal agencies in implementing NEPA during the planning phases of any federal action. These regulations together with specific Federal agency NEPA implementation procedures help to ensure that the environmental impacts of any proposed decisions are fully considered and that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate potential environmental impacts.
Environmental Document Review Level
CX = Categorical Exclusion - Categorical exclusions are categories of actions which Federal agencies have determined do not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment (individually or cumulatively) and for which, therefore, neither an EA nor an EIS is generally required (40 CFR 1508.4). Departmental policy requires that categorically excluded actions be subjected to sufficient environmental review to determine whether they meet any of the exceptions to categorical exclusion (516 DM 2). Each time a specific categorical exclusions is used, the required review must be prepared.
EA = Environmental Assessment - An environmental assessment (EA) must be prepared for proposed actions that (1) are not exempt from NEPA, (2) have not been categorically excluded, (3) have not been covered in an existing Resource Management Plan EIS or other environmental analysis, or (4) do not normally or obviously require an EIS. An EA may be prepared for any action at any time to assist in planning and decision making.
EIS = Environmental Impact Statement - When a proposed action, including a proposed policy or legislative recommendation, is projected to have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment, an environmental impact statement (EIS) must be prepared. An EIS is intended to provide decision makers and the public with a complete and objective evaluation of significant environmental impacts, both beneficial and adverse, resulting from a proposed action and all reasonable alternatives. An EIS is a major vehicle for fulfilling the substantive environmental goals set forth in NEPA.