A Guide to Best Practice
Chapter 10: USA
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the federal legislation which guides the EIA process in the United States. Most states, including Alaska, do not have their own EIA legislation, but use NEPA. Congress enacted NEPA in December 1969; it was signed into law on 1 January 1970 and is listed as 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. (CEQ 2007; EPA 2015). To implement the policies, NEPA requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions regarding implementation. Two major purposes of this environmental review process are better informed decisions and citizen involvement, both of which should lead to implementation of NEPA’s policies (CEQ 2007). According to Hendry et al. (2004), NEPA provides a framework for incorporating human values and place-based identity into the decision-making process, therefore giving those who must bear the physical, biological and social environmental consequences of governmental policy and land-use decisions the best possible information to make those required decisions about proposed projects.
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