The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) established a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Task Force in 2002 to review current NEPA practices and provide recommendations to better integrate NEPA into federal agency decision making and to make the NEPA process more effective, efficient and timely. The Task Force reviewed the current NEPA implementing practices and procedures in several areas: technology and information management and security; federal and intergovernmental collaboration; programmatic analyses and subsequent tiered documents; and adaptive management and monitoring. In addition, the Modernizing NEPA Task Force reviewed other NEPA implementation issues such as the level of detail included in agencies' procedures and documentation for promulgating categorical exclusions; the structure and documentation of environmental assessments; and implementation practices that would benefit other agencies. CEQ Memorandum (04/10/2002).
This website describes the work of the Task Force established by CEQ to address modernizing the implementation of NEPA to make the NEPA process more effective, efficient and timely. Other organizations and groups also examined the National Environmental Policy Act and some provided websites with information about their separate but related efforts. See the report from the National Environmental Conflict Resolution Advisory Committee (Committee), a federal advisory committee chartered by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (U.S. Institute) of the Morris K. Udall Foundation (available at http://www.ecr.gov/Resources/NEPAECR.aspx).
The NEPA Task Force consulted with other federal and state agencies, organizations, and the public, and received over 600 substantive public comments as a result of public consultation. The Task Force drew upon the work of CEQ's 25th anniversary report, The National Environmental Policy Act: A Study of its Effectiveness After Twenty-five Years, public comments, current literature and NEPA processes, as well as other sources provided by the public. The Task Force completed its report, Modernizing NEPA Implementation, with recommendations to CEQ that propose potential new guidance and changes to CEQ regulations and agency procedures implementing NEPA. The NEPA Task Force report Modernizing NEPA Implementation was presented to CEQ in September 2003 (Memorandum 09/24/2003). CEQ then hosted several public roundtables to raise awareness of the recommendations and hear from the public and NEPA experts on which of the recommendations should be implemented and how they should, if at all, be modified. CEQ received reports from each of the roundtables as well as a final report synthesizing the input from the four roundtables and the public. Regional Roundtables.
In addition, a Compendium of Useful Practices highlighting case studies and useful practices used to facilitate more effective NEPA implementation was prepared.
The Task Force ended in 2003. Task Force membership through January 2003 was composed of career civil servants from the Environmental Protection Agency; the Forest Service; Department of Energy; Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration; Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Land Management; Army Corps of Engineers; and the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. About the Task Force Members
CEQ considered and implemented recommendations based on the input provided by the Task Force, the expert roundtables, and the public. Citizen's Guide, Collaboration in NEPA Handbook, Aligning NEPA Processes with Environmental Management Systems - A Guide for NEPA and EMS Practitioners.