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National Environmental Policy Act
National Environmental Policy Act

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the basic national charter for the protection of the environment and requires Federal decision-makers, at all levels, to consider the environmental consequences of a proposed action in the decision-making process before deciding to take an action.  NEPA is a procedural law that requires full public disclosure of environmental impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures expected from proposed actions.  In reviewing an action for environmental considerations, the action sponsor and the decision-maker must determine applicability and requirements of statutes, regulations, Executive Orders, and environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act (CWA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), etc., and factor these requirements into the overall decision to conduct an action. 

The Environmental Planning Division of MCAS Miramar's NEPA process is managed by a single individual. Although measures needed for compliance with the various requirements of the NEPA process may be accomplished as part of the NEPA process, or as separate actions (sometimes being completed after NEPA).  Actions subject to NEPA include all new and some continuing or recurring activities, including projects, exercises and/or approved programs entirely or partly funded, assisted, conducted or regulated by a federal agency.  Typical actions may include implementation or approval of specific projects, such as construction or management activities located aboard MCAS Miramar (i.e., MILCON projects, public/private venture projects, special projects, and land acquisition) as well as training events and routine maintenance.


The most important starting point for an EMS* is the development of an environmental policy. ISO14001 requires local governments to implement their own environmental policy. The environmental policy acts as a basis for the environmental management system.

The NEPA process requires communication with stakeholders of the proposed NEPA action. To fully implement the NEPA process, individuals administering the process must have requisite knowledge of the legal requirements of such proposed actions. This requisite knowledge can be gained from attending formal and informal training courses and seminars like:

Advanced Environmental Management - CECOS CIN# CIN: A-4A-0063

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Application - CECOS CIN# CIN: A-4A-0077

Advanced Environmental Law CECOS CIN# CIN: A-4A-0068

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Navy Executive Overview CECOS CIN# CIN: A-4A-0076

Primary methods of communication for this complicated process include e-mails, telephone conversations and use of this Website to post a formal announcement of such proposed actions requiring public review.

NEPA requires agencies to follow a three-step review process:

  1. Conduct a preliminary screening for NEPA’s applicability;
  2. Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required; and
  3. Prepare an EIS if required (an EIS is required if a proposed action may “significantly affect the quality of the human environment”).

  • Agencies must integrate NEPA into their planning processes as early as possible
  • EISs must highlight reasonable alternatives that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance the quality of the environment. They are used to inform decisions – not to justify already-made decisions.
  • The format for EISs should include the following:
    • Cover
    • Summary
    • Purpose and need
    • Alternatives including the proposed action
    • Affected environment
    • Environmental consequences (of each alternative)
    • Appendix
  • Agencies must solicit comments on draft EISs
  • The Environmental Protection Agency reviews all EISs
  • Agencies must prepare a “Record of Decision” for all EISs. In part, this document states decisions and the alternatives considered (including specifying the environmentally-preferable alternative).


ISO14001 requires that an environmental management system is planned properly. It requires the organization to consider the following carefully: Environmental Aspects; Legal and Other Aspects; Objectives and Targets; and an Environmental Management Program.


The two requirements for implementation of an EMS is to define, document, and communicate roles, responsibilities and authorities, and to allocate the resources needed to implement and control the EMS.


The key requirement in this EMS step is to regularly monitor and measure key characteristics of activities and operations that could have a significant impact on the environment. Changes to EMS procedures may become necessary in order to deal with nonconformances with the EMS, with mitigating environmental impacts, or corrective and preventive action.


The management review process ensure that information is collected to enable management to carry out proper review. Top management review the need for changes to policy, objectives and targets, and ensure that a commitment to continual improvement is being demonstrated.

As part of our commitment, all projects, planning and POA&Ms are tracked, followed and resolved using the Marine Corps' WEBCASS at
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar-EMS