Putting Bite in NEPA’s Bark: New Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for the Preparation of Environmental Impact Statements

This article will examine the new regulations to assess the manner in which they will affect federal decisionmaking. Part I briefly reviews the role the NEPA process has heretofore played in agency decisionmaking and its potential for the future. Parts II, III, and IV discuss specific provisions of the new regulations which may profoundly affect the agencies. Part II examines those sections of the regulations which seek to ensure that the EIS contains the substantive information necessary to fulfill NEPA’s policies. Part III discusses significant procedural changes in the environmental assessment process designed to insure that this substantive information is considered by agency decisionmakers. Part IV examines provisions which seek to guarantee that agency decisions subsequent to the preparation of the EIS actually reflect the information it contains. The article concludes that CEQ’s initiative will greatly promote the policies of NEPA.