NPS Director's Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis and Decision Making
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White Sands National Monument, NM2.14 Overview of the NEPA Process — Emergency Actions

Emergencies requiring immediate action are exempt from CEQ’s regulatory provisions for implementing NEPA (1506.11; 516 DM, 5.8), regardless of whether the actions have the potential for significant impact. In the event of an emergency, you should immediately take any action needed to prevent or reduce either risks to public health or safety or serious resource losses. CEQ and the Department require that both CEQ and OEPC (the Department’s Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance) be consulted as soon as possible about NEPA compliance in such an event. If an action is one that would normally require an EIS, consult CEQ as soon as possible for approval of alternative arrangements. The NPS Environmental Quality Division coordinates these requests.

It is important to note that only those actions required to resolve the emergency are exempt. Other related actions (follow-up, connected, long-term, etc.) remain subject to the requirements of NEPA.

Examples of emergency actions are cleanup of immediately threatening hazardous materials spills, fire suppression, and prevention or repair of damage by unanticipated floods or other natural disasters (ESM97-3).

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