NEPA and the EPA in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska | Region 10 | US EPA

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NEPA and the EPA in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska

Basic Information

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] was the first major environmental law in the United States. Congress enacted NEPA in December 1969 and President Richard Nixon signed it into law on January 1, 1970. All federal agencies are required to comply with NEPA before they make any decision concerning federal actions that could have environmental consequences. NEPA applies to a wide range of federal actions that may include: federal construction projects, management and development of federally owned lands, grants, licenses and permits, and federally funded projects. Private individuals or companies become involved in the NEPA process when they need a permit issued by a federal agency or seek federal funding for their projects.

The NEPA Process

The NEPA process consists of an evaluation of the environmental effects of a federal undertaking, including its alternatives, and measures to minimize and mitigate environmental impacts. There are three levels of NEPA analysis: categorical exclusion determination; preparation of an environmental assessment/finding of no significant impact (EA/FONSI); and preparation of an environmental impact statement/ record of decision (EIS/ROD).

The EPA’s Role

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), like all other federal agencies, prepares NEPA documents for its actions subject to NEPA review. EPA actions subject to NEPA compliance include:
Many EPA actions are exempt from the procedural requirements of NEPA, including actions take under:
In addition to complying with the procedural provisions of NEPA for its actions, EPA also has a unique responsibility in the NEPA review process. Pursuant to Section 309 of the CAA, the EPA is required to review, comment, and rate EISs and some EAs prepared by all other federal agencies. The Office of Federal Activities in EPA Headquarters has been designated the official recipient of all EISs prepared by federal agencies. EPA’s reviews are made available to the public and are intended to assist agencies in improving their NEPA analysis and decision-making.

Related Information

EPA Region 10 NEPA Compliance Contact Information

EPA Region 10 (Pacific Northwest) serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 Native Tribes. If you have a plan or project within Region 10 that you believe may require EPA NEPA compliance please contact us as soon as possible. We are happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. All inquiries should be directed to:

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