Enacted in 1970, NEPA is a cornerstone of the Nation's efforts to protect the environment and a fundamental tool to harmonize economic and environmental aspirations. It recognizes that many Federal activities affect the environment and mandates that Federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their proposed actions before acting. NEPA emphasizes public involvement in government actions affecting the environment by requiring that the benefits and the risks associated with proposed actions be assessed and publicly disclosed.
To modernize NEPA, CEQ has issued draft guidance for public comment on: (1) when and how Federal agencies must consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in their proposed actions; (2) clarifying appropriateness of "Findings of No Significant Impact" and specifying when there is a need to monitor environmental mitigation commitments; (3) clarifying use of categorical exclusions; and (4) enhanced public tools for reporting on NEPA activities. The following is a brief summary of the four issues.