Enacted in 1970, NEPA is a cornerstone of our nation's efforts to protect the environment. It recognizes that many federal activities affect the environment and mandates that federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their proposed actions before acting. NEPA emphasizes public involvement in government actions by requiring that the benefits and the risks associated with proposed actions be assessed and publicly disclosed.
Presidio Trust NEPA Policy
The focus of Trust NEPA environmental reviews is to provide information to make substantive decisions in accordance with the Trust’s mandate. It is the Trust’s policy to:
- Use all practical means, consistent with the Trust’s statutory authority, available resources, and national policy, to protect and enhance the quality of the human environment
- Ensure that environmental factors and concerns are given appropriate consideration in decisions and actions by the Trust
- Use systematic and timely approaches which will ensure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and environmental design arts in planning and decision-making which may have an impact on the human environment
- Develop and utilize ecological, cultural, and other environmental information in the management of the Presidio Trust Area and its natural, historic, scenic, cultural, and recreational resources pursuant to the Trust Act
- Invite the cooperation and encourage the participation, where appropriate, of Federal, State, and local authorities and the public in Trust planning and decision-making processes that affect the quality of the human environment
- Minimize any possible adverse effects of Trust decisions and actions upon the quality of the human environment
The Compliance Process
The Trust’s NEPA compliance can take three forms, a Categorical Exclusion, an EA, or an EIS:
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
A CE describes a category of actions that are expected not to have individually or cumulatively significant environmental impacts. The Trust’s own regulations implementing NEPA set out the Trust’s CEs, which were established after CEQ and public review. A proposed action within such a category does not require further analysis and documentation in an EA or an EIS. A CE can be used after determining that a proposed action falls within the categories of actions described in the CE and that there are no extraordinary circumstances indicating further environmental review is warranted.
When a CE is not appropriate and the Trust has not determined whether the proposed action will cause significant environmental effects, then an EA is prepared. If, as a result of the EA, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is made, then the NEPA review process is completed with the FONSI, including documentation of its basis in the EA; otherwise an EIS is prepared.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
The most intensive level of analysis is the EIS, which is typically reserved for the analysis of proposed actions that are expected to result in significant environmental impacts. When an EIS is prepared, the NEPA review process is concluded when a Record of Decision (ROD) is issued.