National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Law and Legal Definition
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment. NEPA came into existence following increased appreciation for the environment, and growing concerns about ecological and wildlife well-being, although still without major impacts on human health; indeed, the public outcry after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill was perhaps the leading catalyst.
NEPA's most significant effect was to set up procedural requirements for all federal government agencies to prepare Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). EAs and EISs contain statements of the environmental effects of proposed federal agency actions. NEPA’s procedural requirements apply to all federal agencies in the executive branch. NEPA does not apply to the President, to Congress, or to the federal courts.
The following is an example of NEPA review given by a statute:
(a) NEPA review. Action by the Secretary of the Interior in managing the public lands, or the Secretary of Agriculture in managing National Forest System Lands, with respect to any of the activities described in subsection (b) shall be subject to a rebuttable presumption that the use of a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) [42 USCS §§ 4321 et seq.] would apply if the activity is conducted pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act for the purpose of exploration or development of oil or gas.
(b) Activities described. The activities referred to in subsection (a) are the following:
(1) Individual surface disturbances of less than 5 acres so long as the total surface disturbance on the lease is not greater than 150 acres and site-specific analysis in a document prepared pursuant to NEPA has been previously completed.
(2) Drilling an oil or gas well at a location or well pad site at which drilling has occurred previously within 5 years prior to the date of spudding the well.
(3) Drilling an oil or gas well within a developed field for which an approved land use plan or any environmental document prepared pursuant to NEPA analyzed such drilling as a reasonably foreseeable activity, so long as such plan or document was approved within 5 years prior to the date of spudding the well.
(4) Placement of a pipeline in an approved right-of-way corridor, so long as the corridor was approved within 5 years prior to the date of placement of the pipeline.
(5) Maintenance of a minor activity, other than any construction or major renovation or a building or facility. [42 USCS § 15942]
Legal Definition list
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
- National Energy Conservation Policy Act
- National Endowment for the Arts [NEA]
- National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants
- National Emissions Standards Act
- National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force
- National Federation of Decency
- National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB]
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- National Fire Code
- National Fire Danger Rating System