National Environmental Policy Act



The purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 is to encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and the environment, to promote efforts that prevent or eliminate damage to the environment, and to improve the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation.

The Act was signed into law by President Nixon on January 1, 1970. It established a broad national framework for protecting the environment. NEPA's basic policy is to assure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that significantly affects the environment.

NEPA also established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) which was placed in the Executive Office of the President. The primary function of the CEQ is to ensure that federal agencies meet their obligations under the Act. Under the President's Reorganization Act of 1974, the functions of the CEQ that pertained to ecological systems were transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reviews Environmental Impact Statements and some Environmental Assessments and assists federal agencies with their reviews and analyses.

How BNL Complies

The Laboratory has established procedures within the Standards-Based Management System for implementing NEPA requirements. BNL staff involved in projects, activities, or facility modifications that involve either federal funding or use of federal facilities, federal lands, or capital equipment must ensure that a NEPA environmental review is performed before initiating work.

Documents / Links

To learn more visit:

Chapter 3, Compliance Status, of the 2009 Site Environmental Report

EPA NEPA Summary

The NEPA Citizens Guide