Effective Use of Programmatic NEPA Reviews
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is publishing draft guidance on when and how Federal agencies can effectively use National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) programmatic reviews. 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. This guidance is designed to assist agency decision-makers and the public in understanding the environmental impacts from proposed large-scope Federal actions and activities and to facilitate agency compliance with NEPA by clarifying the different planning scenarios under which an agency may prepare a programmatic, broad-scale, review. The guidance also addresses how agencies can prepare such reviews to ensure they are timely, informative, and useful for advancing decision-making. The goal of this guidance is to encourage a more consistent approach to programmatic NEPA reviews so that the analyses and documentation will allow for the expeditious and efficient completion of any necessary tiered reviews. It builds on guidance issued since 1981 that explained the use of tiering and its place in the NEPA process.