||In 1970 President Richard M. Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act of
1969 (NEPA). As part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council
on Environmental Quality (CEQ) was established by Congress ensuring all federal agencies
meet their obligations under NEPA. With the enactment of NEPA, all federal agencies
are required to submit an environmental impact statement (EIS) which identifies and
evaluates all environmental impacts (adverse or beneficial); all effects (direct,
indirect or cumulative), and any reasonable alternatives on all federal projects.
The EIS shows that all impacts with regard to natural and cultural resources and its
effects were evaluated and analyzed to the fullest extent possible and must be made
available to the public and other federal agencies for review and comments. This
process captures the intent of NEPA and provides the decisionmakers with the best
choice. However, with the Global War on Terrorism and heightened National Security
issues; how do we complete the NEPA process involving classified projects/materials?
Is there any environmental oversight for classified information or is it subjected
to an environmental exemption?
The following paper discusses complying with the NEPA process with regard to classified
projects/materials; the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Presidential exemptions
and case law.