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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Moon Set over Earth
Moon set over the Earth limb taken from Space Shuttle Discovery during STS-70 mission.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Mission, Goals, and Objectives

The main objective of NEPA is to protect and enhance the quality of the human environment through three main initiatives:

  • Integrating environmental considerations into the planning of NASA actions as early as possible.
  • Ensuring that environment, technical, and economic considerations are weighed during decision making and before any actions are taken.
  • Ensuring the decision maker and the public are aware of environmental consequences of proposed NASA actions and that informed decisions are made.

NASA NEPA's goal and objectives are to seek to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the adverse effect of its proposed programs and projects that enable NASA to implement its mission. Any mitigation measures needed are monitored during the implementation of the mission. NASA sees NEPA as much more than a compliance responsibility:

  • NASA-NEPA Program. NASA strives to balance environmental, social, and economic concerns, as well as mission needs and goals when planning programs and projects.
  • NASA-NEPA Process. The White House Council on Environmental Quality sets the standard, and NASA develops and implements agency-specific regulations, policies and procedures to support its own mandate and also meet other environmental requirements.
  • NEPA Environmental Stewardship. NASA partners with other Federal agencies, state and local government, concerned public / private organizations, and individuals to act as responsible stewards of America's vast natural resources.

How NEPA Supports NASA's Mission

  • Reducing NASA's impact on the environment.
  • Preserving NASA's reputation as an environmentally conscious entity.
  • Aiding NASA in making green, economical decisions.

NEPA Regulatory Drivers

NASA complies with CEQ NEPA regulations, as well as its own NEPA regulations and policies. These, along with the NASA NEPA Library are available through the NASA NEPA Portal.

This public portal provides environmental assessments (EAs and their related FONSIs) and environmental impacts statements (EISs and their related RODs), as well as notices of on-going NEPA actions (programs or projects).

NEPA Point of Contact

Tina Norwood - NASA NEPA Manager

Related Links

Learn More About NASA's NEPA program on the NEPA Portal.
Learn more about NASA's work to study and protect the Earth at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/earthday/.

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Page Last Updated: January 14th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator