The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) is the foundation of modern American environmental protection in the United States and its commonwealths, territories, and possessions. NEPA requires that Federal agency decision-makers, in carrying out their duties, use all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which people and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic, and other needs of present and future generations of Americans. NEPA provides a mandate and a framework for Federal agencies to consider all reasonably foreseeable environmental effects of their proposed actions and to involve and inform the public in the decision-making process.
NOAA’s requirements for implementing NEPA may be found at http://www.nepa.noaa.gov/.