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National Environmental Policy Act

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is the mandate of any federal agency or department for the protection of the environment.

NEPA was created to ensure federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their actions and decisions. NEPA requires all federal agencies to consider the values of environmental preservation for all significant actions and prescribes procedural measures to ensure that those values are in fact fully respected. Federal agencies are required to systematically assess the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and consider alternative ways of accomplishing their missions in ways which are less damaging to the environment. Multi-disciplinary identification and analysis of impacts is also required.

The basic doctrine of NEPA requires the federal government to use all practicable means and measures to protect environmental values. Section 101 (b) of the Act states "it is the continuing responsibility of the federal government to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy" to avoid environmental degradation, preserve historic, cultural, and natural resources, and "promote the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without undesirable and unintentional consequences." Therefore, NEPA makes environmental protection a part of the mandate of every federal agency and department. NEPA requires analysis and a detailed statement of the environmental impact of any proposed federal action which significantly affects the quality of the human environment. Each agency designates a "responsible official" who must ensure NEPA issues are addressed as part of the agency's actions. All agencies must use a systematic interdisciplinary approach to environmental planning and evaluation of projects which may have an affect on the environment.

The information compiled in this website is for general information purposes only to permit an agency to learn more about the environmental doctrines that govern GSA. The information is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed in the agency's state and may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Readers should not act upon any information in this website without first directly consulting legal counsel.  

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