The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)


The language that was passed as Congressional Declaration 42 U.S.C. 4331, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) states:
“Congress, recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural environment, particularly:

  • the profound influences of population growth,
  • high density urbanization,
  • industrial expansion,
  • resource exploitation, and
  • new and expanding technological advances,

and recognizing further the critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the federal government, in cooperation with state and local governments and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to:


  • foster and promote the general welfare,
  • create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and
  • fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.”

This language, like most laws, is very broad in an effort to best serve the greater public good. The goal of this website is to explain more specifically how NEPA has been executed in Alaska. Specifically, how can it be used as a tool by local governments so that citizens can meaningfully participate in the state and federal decision-making processes that govern how proposed development projects will be permitted or not?