USA National Environmental Policy Act


National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (Pub. L. 91-190, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347, January 1, 1970, as amended by Pub. L. 94-52, July 3, 1975, Pub. L. 94-83, August 9, 1975, and Pub. L. 97-258, § 4(b), Sept. 13, 1982)

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.”


Sec. 2 42 USC § 4321]

The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 

Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970

As amended (Pub. L. No. 91- 224, Title II, April 3, 1970; Pub. L. No. 97-258, September 13, 1982; and Pub. L. No. 98-581, October 30, 1984), 42 U.S.C. 4371-4374

Sec. 202 (c) The purposes of this chapter are –

(1) to assure that each Federal department and agency conducting or supporting public works activities which affect the environment shall implement the policies established under existing law; and (2) to authorize an Office of Environmental Quality, which, notwithstanding any other provision of law, shall provide the professional and administrative staff for the Council on Environmental Quality established by Public Law 91-190.

Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970

Clean Air Act, Section 309

July 14, 1955, c. 360, § 309, as added Dec 31, 1970, Pub L 91-604 § 12(a), 42 U.S.C. § 7609 (1970).

§ 7609. Policy Review

(a) The Administrator shall review and comment in writing on the environmental impact of any matter relating to duties and responsibilities granted pursuant to this chapter or other provisions of the authority of the Administrator, contained in any (1) legislation proposed by any Federal department or agency, (2) newly authorized Federal projects for construction and any major Federal agency action (other than a project for construction) to which section 4332(2)(C) of this title applies, and (3) proposed regulations published by any department or agency of the Federal Government. Such written comment shall be made public at the conclusion of any such review.

(b) In the event the administrator determines that any such legislation, action, or regulation is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of public health or welfare or environmental quality, he shall publish his determination and the matter shall be referred to the Council on Environmental Quality.


Environmental Policy connected Executive Orders

Below is a partial list of Executive Orders (E.O.) relevant to NEPA analysis. The list spans a number of administrations and provides background on environmental protection efforts for NEPA analysis purposes.

E.O. 14030, Climate-Related Financial Risk (May 20, 2021)
E.O. 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input (Jan. 30, 2015), reinstated by E.O. 14030 (May 20, 2021)
E.O. 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad (January 27, 2021)
E.O. 13990, Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis (January 20, 2021)
E.O. 13867, Issuance of Permits with Respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at the International Boundaries of the United States (April 10, 2019)
E.O. 13855, Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands, and other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk (December 21, 2018)
E.O. 13604, Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects (March 22, 2012)
E.O. 13274, Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Reviews (September 18, 2002), amended by E.O. 13286 (February 28, 2003)
E.O. 13212, Actions To Expedite Energy-Related Projects (May 18, 2001), amended by E.O. 13286 (February 28, 2003) and E.O. 13302 (May 15, 2003)
E.O. 13186, Responsibilities of Federal Agencies To Protect Migratory Birds (January 10, 2001)
E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments (November 6, 2000)
E.O. 13141, Environmental Review of Trade Agreements (November 16, 1999)
E.O. 13112, Invasive Species (February 3, 1999), Amended by E.O. 13286 (February 28, 2003) and E.O. 13751 (December 5, 2016)
E.O. 13089, Coral Reef Protection (June 11, 1998)
E.O. 13057, Federal Actions in the Lake Tahoe Region (July 26, 1997)
E.O. 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations(February 11, 1994), Amended by E.O. 12948 (January 30, 1995)
E.O. 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions (January 4, 1979)
E.O. 11991, Relating to Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Quality (May 24, 1977), amending E.O. 11514 (March 5, 1970)
E.O. 11990, Protection of Wetlands (May 24, 1977), as amended by E.O. 12608 (September 9, 1987)
E.O. 11988, Floodplain Management (May 24, 1977), as amended by E.O. 12148 (July 20, 1979) and E.O. 13690 (January 30, 2015)
E.O. 11514, Protection and Enhancement of Environmental Quality (March 5, 1970), as amended by E.O. 11991 (May 24, 1977)

Other Documents

  • Congressional White Paper on a National Policy for the Environment
  • House of Representatives Report on NEPA
  • Senate Report on NEPA

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