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National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at NOAA: Office of General Counsel

Policy resources for practitioners

Office of General Counsel and NEPA

NOAA’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance is overseen by the Office of General Counsel and the designated NOAA NEPA Coordinator. The NOAA NEPA Coordinator and staff provide information, training, and advice to staff across the agency in order to ensure NOAA’s compliance with NEPA. The NOAA NEPA Coordinator and staff provide information, training, and advice to staff across the agency in order to ensure NOAA’s compliance with NEPA.

NOAA’s NEPA compliance is guided by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Regulations for Implementing NEPA, and the revised NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, and a Companion Manual to the NAO entitled Policy and Procedures for Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Related Authorities (“Companion Manual”). The authorized Companion Manual provides additional, specific policies pursuant to NEPA and related authorities.

Together, these documents outline NOAA’s procedures to meet NEPA requirements including:

  • Fully integrate NEPA into the agency planning and decision-making process;
  • Fully consider the impacts of NOAA’s proposed actions on the quality of the human environment;
  • Involve interested and affected agencies, governments, organizations and individuals early in the agency planning and decision-making process when significant impacts are or may be expected to alter the quality of the human environment through implementation of proposed major Federal actions; and
  • Conduct and document environmental reviews and related decisions appropriately and efficiently.