National Environmental Protection Act

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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment and also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

NEPA's most significant effect was to set up procedural requirements for all federal government agencies to prepare Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). EAs and EISs contain statements of the environmental effects of proposed federal agency actions.[1] NEPA’s procedural requirements apply to all federal agencies in the executive branch. NEPA does not apply to the President, to Congress, or to the federal courts.[2]



NEPA came into existence following increased appreciation for the environment, and growing concerns about ecological and wildlife well-being, although still without major impacts on human health; indeed, the public outcry after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill was perhaps the leading catalyst. An Eisenhower-era Outdoor Recreation report, a Wilderness Act, Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, along with Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, all reflect the growing concerns, public interest group efforts, and legislative discussion involved.[3] Another major driver for enacting NEPA were the freeway revolts that occurred in response to the bulldozing of many communities and ecosystems around the country as the Interstate Highway System was being built during the 1960s. The law has since been applied to any project, federal, state or local, that involves federal funding or work performed by the federal government. Although enacted on January 1, 1970, its "short title" is "National Environmental Policy Act of 1969."

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