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ORF Home > Environmental Protection > NEPA Review > 30-50-00 -- Background

30-50-00 -- Background

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d, establishes policy and requirements governing all Federal Departments and agencies with respect to protecting the environment. This chapter supplements specific requirements established by NEPA and by the associated implementing regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (40 CFR 1500-1508). This chapter also establishes Department policy and procedures with respect to the implementation of NEPA and provides guidance to HHS Staff Divisions (STAFFDIVs) and Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) in establishing additional regulations for implementing NEPA that are unique to each OPDIV/STAFFDIV.
NEPA requires all Federal Departments and agencies to assess, as an integral part of their decision making process, the potential environmental impacts of their actions prior to initiation of those actions. NEPA establishes environmental policy, sets goals (Section 101), and provides procedures (Section 102) for carrying out the policy. Specifically, Section 102(2)(C) of NEPA requires all agencies of the Federal Government to include an environmental statement "in every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment..." The purpose of this and other requirements is to ensure that environmental information is available to public officials and citizens before Federal agencies make decisions to take actions which could significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

This page was last updated on May 23, 2013