The Council on Environmental Quality
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President to ensure that Federal agencies meet their obligations under NEPA. CEQ oversees NEPA implementation, principally through issuing guidance and interpreting regulations that implement NEPA's procedural requirements. CEQ also reviews and approves Federal agency NEPA procedures, approves alternative arrangements for compliance with NEPA for emergencies, and helps to resolve disputes between Federal agencies and with other governmental entities and members of the public.
NEPA set forth a bold new vision for America. Acknowledging the decades of environmental neglect that had significantly degraded the nation's landscape and damaged the human environment, the law was established to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans. Under NEPA, CEQ oversees Federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process and coordinates when agencies disagree over the adequacy of such assessments.
In enacting NEPA, Congress recognized that a variety of Federal activities may affect the environment in significant ways and mandated that before Federal agencies make decisions, they must consider the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment. Under NEPA, CEQ works to achieve NEPA’s goal of “productive harmony” between humans and the human environment. 42 U.S.C. §4331(a). NEPA assigns CEQ the task of ensuring that Federal agencies meet their obligations under the Act.
In addition to NEPA implementation, CEQ also develops and recommends national policies to the President that promote the improvement of environmental quality and meet the Nation's goals. CEQ also oversees the Office of Federal Sustainability (OFS). OFS coordinates and implements policy to promote energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental stewardship in Federal government operations. OFS works closely with agencies and other White House offices to improve efficiency of Federal operations, promote deployment of efficient technologies, and modernize Federal facilities through sound use of taxpayer dollars