The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a federal law enacted in 1970 by President Nixon that requires federal agencies to evaluate the environmental effects of their actions. It also established the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Federal agencies must prepare Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) stating the potential environmental effects of proposed actions
Imagine this: A new solar energy company wants to build a solar farm on federal public land in the desert. They need to bulldoze an area of good habitat for endemic wildlife and plantlife like ancient creosote circles. Renewable energy can help slow climate change, but does it have to destroy a healthy part of the ecosystem in the process? That’s where NEPA comes in. Before a federal agency approves the project, it must consider how that project will impact the environment and communities.
Public comment is crucial in the NEPA process.