NEPA Environmental Assessment for Grant-Funded Projects

Mar 19, 2024

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 is a landmark environmental law in the United States that has significantly influenced the way environmental assessments are conducted. NEPA’s primary goal is to ensure that federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their actions and involve the public in the decision-making process. This article provides a breakdown of NEPA environmental assessments, including their purpose, who needs one, and their significance in grant-funded projects.

What is the purpose of NEPA Environmental Assessments?

The primary purpose of NEPA environmental assessments is to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of proposed federal actions. By conducting an environmental assessment, federal agencies can identify potential environmental effects, assess the significance of those effects, and develop mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate adverse impacts.

Who needs a NEPA Environmental Assessment?

The NEPA review process applies to federal agencies in the United States. Under NEPA, any major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment requires a review. This includes construction projects, land management decisions, federal regulations, and other proposed actions.

In addition to federal agencies, a NEPA review may also apply to private entities when they are seeking federal permits, licenses, or funding for their projects. These private projects would then
be subject to NEPA review as part of the overall federal review process.

A federal grant recipient proposing a new project most likely requires a NEPA environmental assessment to move the project forward and to release federal funds. Downstream Strategies has worked with several clients, including city and county governments, non-profits, and private entities, to conduct NEPA Environmental Assessments for grant-funded projects. We have worked often with federal grant recipients of the Abandoned Mine Lands Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Program, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services American Rescue Plan who have been selected to receive federal grant funding for a chosen redevelopment project.

Significance of NEPA Environmental Assessments

NEPA environmental assessments play a crucial role in the federal decision-making process by ensuring that environmental impacts are considered and addressed on grant-funded projects. These assessments help to protect natural resources, preserve ecosystems, and promote sustainable development. In addition, NEPA environmental assessments provide opportunities for public input and involvement, helping to ensure that decisions reflect the interests and values of affected communities.

NEPA environmental assessments are a vital tool for promoting environmental stewardship and informed decision-making. By evaluating potential environmental impacts, engaging the public, and developing mitigation measures, NEPA environmental assessments help to ensure that federal actions are environmentally responsible and sustainable.

Are you a federal grant recipient looking for assistance with a NEPA Environmental Assessment?

Reach out to our environmental due diligence team leader, Heather Jewell, at 304-292-2450 or for more guidance.