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Council on Environmental Quality

Selected documents prepared by the Council on Environmental Quality that provide guidance on the NEPA process.

  • December 18, 2014

    On December 18, 2014, CEQ published final guidance that provides clarification on when and how Federal agencies can use programmatic NEPA reviews in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the CEQ NEPA Regulations. Guidance on programmatic NEPA reviews has been requested by the agencies and attention on programmatic NEPA reviews has increased as agencies are increasingly undertaking broad landscape scale analyses for proposals that affect the resources they manage.

  • December 18, 2014

    On December 18, 2014, CEQ released revised draft guidance for public comment that describes how Federal departments and agencies should consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act reviews. The revised draft guidance supersedes the draft greenhouse gas and climate change guidance released by CEQ in February 2010.

  • August 7, 2014

    The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) denied a petition requesting that CEQ (1) amend its NEPA regulations to require Federal agencies to address greenhouse gases (GHGs) and climate change effects in their NEPA documents, and (2) issue guidance on agencies should address GHGs and climate change under NEPA.

  • February 14, 2014

    CEQ and the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) have jointly prepared the handbook “NEPA and CEQA: Integrating Federal and State Environmental Reviews.” The handbook provides practitioners with an overview of NEPA and CEQA as well as suggestions for developing a single environmental review process that can meet the requirements of both statutes. The handbook also provides a framework for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between two or more agencies entering into a joint NEPA/ CEQA review process, and addresses the California Energy Commission licensing process, which takes the place of the CEQA process for certain power plants

  • March 5, 2013

    The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in collaboration with the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, issued on March 5, 2013, a draft handbook on integrating NEPA and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review processes. The guide provides practitioners with an overview of NEPA and CEQA as well as valuable suggestions for developing a single environmental review process that can meet the requirements of both statutes.

  • March 5, 2013

    In this document the Council on Environmental Quality and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) provide advice to Federal agencies, applicants, project sponsors, and consultants on how to take advantage of existing regulatory provisions to align the NEPA process and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 review process. Federal agencies have independent statutory obligations under NEPA and NHPA. 

    The handbook and a joint letter from CEQ and ACHP are available for download here.

  • September 7, 2012

    This Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) joint memorandum expands and builds on the November 28, 2005, Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR) Memorandum, directing departments and agencies to increase the appropriate and effective use of third-party assisted environmental collaboration as well as environmental conflict resolution to resolve problems and conflicts that arise in the context of environmental, public lands, or natural resources issues, including matters related to energy, transportation, and water and land management. 

  • March 12, 2012

    The Council on Environmental Quality is issuing its final guidance on Improving the Process for Preparing Efficient and Timely Environmental Reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and CEQ Regulations implementing NEPA provide numerous techniques for preparing efficient and timely environmental reviews. CEQ is issuing this guidance for Federal departments and agencies to emphasize and clarify that these techniques are available for all NEPA Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements.

  • January 14, 2011

    The Council on Environmental Quality is issuing this guidance for Federal departments and agencies on establishing, implementing, and monitoring mitigation commitments identified and analyzed in Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements, and adopted in the final decision documents. This guidance also clarifies the appropriate use of mitigated "Findings of No Significant Impact" under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The guidance explains the requirements of NEPA and the CEQ Regulations, describes CEQ policies, and recommends procedures for agencies to use to help them comply with the requirements of NEPA and the CEQ Regulations when they establish mitigation planning and implementation procedures

  • December 6, 2010

    This guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality provides methods for substantiating categorical exclusions, clarifies the process for establishing categorical exclusions, outlines how agencies should engage the public when establishing and using categorical exclusions, describes how agencies can document the use of categorical exclusions, and recommends periodic agency review of existing categorical exclusions.

  • May 12, 2010

    With this Memorandum, the Council on Environmental Quality reiterates its previous guidance on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review of proposed emergency response actions.This memorandum clarifies that the previous guidance remains applicable to current situations and provides guidance on required agency environmental review.

  • February 18, 2010

    The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued this draft guidance memorandum for public consideration and comment on the ways in which Federal agencies can improve their consideration of the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change in their evaluation of proposals for Federal actions under NEPA.

  • December 1, 2007

    This guide is based on research and consultations undertaken by the Council on Environmental Quality concerning the need for a Citizen’s Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Participants in NEPA Regional Roundtables held in 2003-2004 clearly voiced the need for an guide that provides an explanation of NEPA, how it is implemented, and how people outside the Federal government — individual citizens, private sector applicants, members of organized groups, or representatives of Tribal, State, or local government agencies — can better participate in the assessment of environmental impacts conducted by Federal agencies.

  • October 1, 2007

    Collaboration in NEPA - a Handbook for NEPA Practitioners is a collaboration of research and consultations by CEQ concerning analyses prepared under NEPA. Updated in the Fall of 2007, this 100-page guide introduces interested parties to collaborative principles, and includes suggestions for successful collaborative efforts.

  • April 1, 2007

    Aligning National Environmental Policy Act Process with Environmental Management Systems (EMS) is a guidebook for NEPA and EMS practitioners that identifies elements of an EMS that can improve NEPA implementation. Alignment of NEPA and EMS further enhances both NEPA's goals and the sustainability goals laid out in the Executive Order 13423: " to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of the present and future generations of Americans."

  • September 8, 2005

    This Council on Environmental Quality memorandum provides general information on
    (1) the response to hurricane Katrina;
    (2) reporting oil and chemical spills;
    (3) projected long term recovery efforts; and
    (4) how agencies can respond to emergencies and comply with NEPA.

  • June 24, 2005

    In this Memorandum, the Council on Environmental Quality provides guidance on the extent to which agencies of the Federal government are required to analyze the environmental effects of past actions when they describe the cumulative environmental effect of a proposed action.

  • December 23, 2004

    The purpose of this Council on Environmental Quality Memorandum is to establish a revised report to ensure that all Federal agencies are consistently reporting designation of Federal and non-federal cooperating agencies in the preparation of analyses and documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

  • May 6, 2003

    A discussion between the Council on Environmental Quality and the Secretary of Transportation on how to formulate a Purpose and Need statement with multiple cooperating agencies.

  • January 30, 2002

    The purpose of this Council on Environmental Quality Memorandum is to ensure that all Federal agencies are actively considering the designation of Federal and non-federal cooperating agencies in the preparation of analyses and documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and to ensure that Federal agencies actively participate as cooperating agencies in other agency’s NEPA processes.

  • September 25, 2000

    The purpose of this Council on Environmental Quality Memorandum is to ensure that all federal and non-federal cooperating agencies are identified on the cover sheet of each Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared by your agency.

  • July 28, 1999

    This Council on Environmental Quality Memorandum (CEQ) urges agencies to more actively solicit the participation of state, tribal and local governments as cooperating agencies in implementing the environmental impact statement process. The Memorandum refers agencies to existing CEQ guidance on the types of actions and expertise that are relevant in determining appropriate cooperating agencies, and encourages agencies to document their expectations, roles, and responsibilities (including funding).

  • December 10, 1997

    Guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality to assist Federal agencies with their NEPA procedures so that environmental justice concerns are effectively identified and addressed.

  • July 1, 1997

    The purpose of this guidance is to clarify the applicability of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to proposed federal actions in the United States, including its territories and possessions, that may have transboundary effects extending across the border and affecting another country's environment. While the guidance arises in the context of negotiations undertaken with the governments of Mexico and Canada to develop an agreement on transboundary environmental impact assessment in North America, the guidance pertains to all federal agency actions that are normally subject to NEPA, whether covered by an international agreement or not.

  • January 1, 1997

    This handbook presents the results of research and consultations by the Council on Environmental Quality concerning the consideration of cumulative effects in analyses prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It introduces the NEPA practitioner and other interested parties to the complex issue of cumulative effects, outlines general principles, presents useful steps, and provides information on methods of cumulative effects analysis and data sources.