Council on Environmental Quality Law and Legal Definition

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is an office of the Executive Office of the President. The CEQ coordinates federal environmental efforts in the U.S. and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental and energy policies and initiatives.

The CEQ was established pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970 increased the responsibilities of the CEQ.

The CEQ is required to: report annually to the President on the state of the environment; oversee federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process; act as a referee when agencies disagree over the adequacy of environmental impact assessments.

Additionally, the CEQ is also required to balance competing positions and encourage government-wide coordination. This helps in bringing federal agencies, state and local governments, and other stakeholders together on matters relating to the environment, natural resources and energy.

Under the NEPA, CEQ is responsible to ensure that federal agencies meet their obligations under the Act. The CEQ also oversees the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, responsible for promoting sustainable environmental stewardship throughout the Federal government.