National Environmental Policy Act

I'm Maggie Langley I work for the Oregon Washington bureau Land Management I'm a planning and environmental coordinator Congress enacted NEPA in December 1969 and President Nixon signed it into law on January 1st 1970 NEPA was the first major environmental law in the United States and is often called the Magna Carta of environmental law in NEPA Congress recognized that the federal government's actions may cause significant environmental effects the range of actions that caused significant environmental effects is broad and includes issuing regulations providing permits for public or private actions funding private actions agencies are required to determine if their proposed actions have significant environmental effects and to consider the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions often private individuals or companies will become involved in the NEPA process when they need a permit issued by a federal agency when a company applies for a permit for example for crossing federal lands the agency that is being asked to issue the permit must evaluate the environmental effects of the permit decision under NEPA Nikolai's all major federal actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment major federal actions include things such as adoption formal policy adoption adoption of formal regulations and also project specific planning major federal actions that come to the BLM often come in form of a proposal submitted by the public the first thing that BLM will do is check to determine if we have control and responsibility over the proposed action and its effects if we do the NEPA husband triggers catalog exclusions are categories of actions that federal agencies have determined do not have a significant effect on the quality of a human environment whether individually or cumulatively for which therefore neither an EA nor an EIS is required for example the installation of routine markers ditches or gates that have been identified in a land-use plan or transmission transportation plan are category excluded an environmental assessment is the appropriate form of NEPA compliance for actions that are not categorically excluded have not been covered in an existing NEPA document and are not normally subject to an environmental impact statement also agencies often prepare an environmental assessment to determine if there are significant effects at the end of an environmental assessment if the agency concludes that there are not significant effects we prepare a finding of no significant impacts if we determine that there are significant effects or we don't know then we move on and prepare an environmental impact statement an environmental impact statement is the appropriate form of a per compliance for actions that are expected to have significant effects or actions where we are not uncertain whether the effects are significant or not they are not the same thing but the public and often folks within the agency are are easily confused on that issue a resource management plan ensures that the public lands are managed with accordance of the intent of Congress under the federal land management Policy Act flip ma flood ma outlines the BLM's responsibility to manage public lands under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield the BLM uses the resource management plans to identify broad goals and objectives as well as specific management actions necessary to achieve those goals the environmental impact statement under NEPA is the mechanism that the BLM uses to analyze the various alternative ways of meeting those goals as well as identify the consequences associated with the resource management plan direction well four alternatives the NEPA directs the BLM to study develop and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal that involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources therefore the BLM is responsible for examining a range of alternatives that would help us meet the purpose and need for action Congress did not specify a specific number of alternatives but rather what is a reasonable amount considering the action the NEPA process is complete upon a decision the NEPA documents the EA the EIS and category oxygen are not decision documents they are and analytical tools at the end of the process we sign a decision whether it's a record of decision or a decision record we are required to make diligent efforts to involve the public in preparing and implementing the NEPA procedures what that means is that we involve the public early on in the NEPA process through the through what we call scoping scope and entails soliciting input for the public on our NEPA document we also involve the public later on in the NEPA process through providing a draft of our environmental impact statement drafts are not required for environmental assessments however in Oregon we often provide drafts to the public so that they may provide meaningful comments we find commas to be a very helpful way of understanding whether we have an adequate range of alternatives or whether we're missing something in our effects analysis the BLM reviews and considers all comments provided during the NEPA process you don't have to be a scientist or have some special expertise to provide your input NEPA also speaks to productive harmony for the social and economic and environmental effects that we consider for present and future generation of this country the BLM in Oregon and Washington has a NEPA document library that contains documents relevant to the BLM's planning projects throughout Oregon and Washington documents can be searched by fiscal year district program area and document type via the NEPA document search form all of the BLM splined documents can also be accessed by the RSS feed for additional information about NEPA please visit the BLM on the web you

Maurice Vega

5 Responses

  1. I show this at the end of my Intro to Env. Law class at a university – I love it. Excellent wrap up for the college students – heck, I'm an env. lawyer, it's excellent for me!!

  2. As a graduate student studying NEPA, this video was quite informative and served as a valuable supplement in my educational endeavor. Great work BLMOregon.

  3. Brian: Thanks for the note. As you know, this is a fairly complicated topic, but we tried our best to hit the high-points.

  4. Thank you for this great NEPA video. I am currently working on creating an introductory, online course for NEPA and the CPA-52 at the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!

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