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Environmental Planning and Compliance

Zumwalt Meador in Kings Canyon National Park
Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park highlights the biodiversity of ecosystems in this and neighboring Sequoia National Park. NPS photo by Matt Limmer.

The National Park Service is required by the NPS Organic Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to plan and make informed decisions that help preserve park resources and values. The NPS carries out this responsibility by preparing studies and involving the public before making decisions that will affect the environment.

The Environmental Planning and Compliance Branch serves as the NPS's focal point for all matters related to NEPA planning and compliance. The branch manages projects and provides guidance, technical assistance, training, and advice on NEPA to NPS staff to protect park resources and values for the enjoyment of future generations.

The National Environmental Policy Act

Passed by Congress in 1969, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) established a national policy of encouraging productive and enjoyable harmony between human beings and the environment for present and future generations. To further this policy, NEPA requires federal agencies like the NPS to evaluate the environmental impacts of its actions and to involve the public in the decision-making process. Within the NPS, the NEPA process is an essential tool for ensuring informed decisions that conserve park resources and values.

National Park Service Director’s Order 12

Director's Order 12 (DO-12) and its accompanying handbook set forth the policies and procedures by which the NPS meets its NEPA requirements. DO-12 describes the NEPA-related roles and responsibilities of NPS staff and highlights the key instructions, requirements, and policies related to NEPA planning and compliance. The DO-12 Handbook serves as the "how-to manual" for NPS NEPA planning and compliance.

Related Links

NPS NEPA Handbook

Last Updated: September 10, 2015