What is NEPA?

A Process to Use When a Large Development is Proposed Near You

Sometimes the first time we hear about a new development proposal in our area – a proposed timber harvest, a mine or a power plant, for example – it is by word of mouth from our friends and neighbors.

On January 1, 1970, Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that would lay out a more formal path for communication and public decision-making to assure that the public interest is protected.

NEPA Process Graphic

The following are the six board environmental policies that are outlined in NEPA and have become law:

  • Fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as a trustee of the environment for succeeding generations
  • Assure for all Americans safe, healthy, productive and aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings
  • Attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences
  • Preserve important historical, cultural ad natural aspects of our national heritage and maintain, wherever possible, an environment which supports diversity and variety of individual choice
  • Achieve a balance between population and resource uses that permits high standards of living and a wide sharing of life’s amenities
  • Enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of depletable resources.

Read about the formal intent language passed by Congress as an introduction to the NEPA document.