National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The National Environmental Policy Act (Public Law 91-190) was signed President Richard Nixon on New Year's Day in 1970. It requires Federal agencies to consider the broadest possible impacts of their actions on the environment. Within the context of this law, often referred to as simply NEPA, the government must take into account the natural environment, the human environment, the built environment, socioeconomic factors, and other elements.

In order to enable our office to analyze the impact of your grant project, we review the approved scope of work. Your grant agreement will outline the ways in which NEPA applies to your award. The National Preservation Institute provides an overview of the NEPA review process in general.

Projects without Construction (Development) or Ground-Disturbing Archeology

For projects that do not include construction (development) aspects or ground-disturbing archeological work, we use an existing list of NPS-specific categories of actions that do not require further review to ensure no harm to the environment. These categories of actions are said to "exclude" further review under NEPA and, because of this, are often referred to as "categorical exclusions." As a result of our ability to categorically exclude your project from further review under NEPA, we attach a signed statement to this effect with your grant agreement.

Projects with Construction (Development) or Ground-Disturbing Archeology

For those projects that do include construction (development) aspects or ground-disturbing archeological work, we review the scope of work against the list of categorical exclusions. The way that we review the scope is by gathering information from you on a worksheet. This worksheet captures information to ensure compliance with NEPA. It is meant to be a guide to completing the required NEPA review process for development and archeology projects. You may use another format to provide this information as long as the required data is provided to your grant manager or NPS technical reviewer.

Even if your project does include construction, you will still find a categorical exclusion attached to your grant agreement; however, it only applies to those portions of your project that are not construction or archeology related. NPS will use the information you provide in the NEPA worksheet to determine if and how a categorical exclusion can apply to the rest of your grant-supported activities.

Last updated: June 28, 2022