Final Guidance for Effective Use of Programmatic NEPA Reviews

On December 18, 2014, CEQ published final guidance that provides clarification on when and how Federal agencies can use programmatic NEPA reviews in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the CEQ NEPA Regulations.  Guidance on programmatic NEPA reviews has been requested by the agencies and attention on programmatic NEPA reviews has increased as agencies are increasingly undertaking broad landscape scale analyses for proposals that affect the resources they manage.  This guidance provides an overview of opportunities for departments and agencies to use programmatic analyses to provide for greater efficiency in their work to prepare NEPA reviews that help agencies make better informed decisions and serve to better inform the public.  This guidance highlights the need to integrate environmental reviews into the decisionmaking process, coordinate multi-agency or multi-governmental reviews and approvals, and ensure meaningful public engagement in the decisionmaking processhe goal of this guidance is to encourage a more consistent approach to programmatic NEPA reviews so that the analyses and documentation will allow for the expeditious and efficient completion of any necessary tiered reviews.  It builds on guidance issued in 1981 that explained the use of tiering and its place in the NEPA process.