What is NEPA?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is perhaps the best-known of our Nation's environmental laws. It applies whenever federal agencies propose to take action or when they propose to fund or approve the actions of others, if environmental impacts are likely to result. NEPA opened federal agency decision-making to the public, and promotes decisions with more environmentally responsible values. The procedures and documents required by NEPA may at times form the only administrative record of federal decision-making.

What is CEQA?

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) parallels NEPA for State and local agency actions. It is a system of environmental review that requires agencies considering project approval to take action to protect California's environment. It applies to any project requiring State or local agency action that may have a significant effect on the environment, whether on State, local agency, or private lands.


The success or failure of many actions in California will depend on compliance with NEPA and CEQA. NEPA and CEQA are similar, both in intent and in the review process (the analyses, public engagement, and document preparation) that they dictate. Importantly, both policies require that the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project be assessed, quantified, disclosed, minimized, and eliminated whenever possible. Despite the similarities between NEPA and CEQA, there are several differences that require careful coordination between the Federal and state agencies responsible for complying with NEPA and CEQA. Conflict arising from these differences can create unnecessary delay, confusion, and legal vulnerability.

Complying with CEQA and NEPA

You need to understand the procedural requirements of the NEPA/CEQA process, including how to determine when these processes apply, deciding which documents to prepare, determining the scope and content of NEPA/CEQA documents, preparing an adequate cumulative impacts analysis, and integration of NEPA and CEQA with other laws. Join one of our upcoming CEQA/NEPA Integration training courses to learn out to make this process smooth from start to finish.

Preparing an EIS and EIR


Enter your email address to be notified of upcoming NWETC courses

Check any topic(s) that you are interested in receiving information about


*Follow NWETC on twitter, and "like" us on Facebook by clicking the icons: