environmental impacts of their programs and projects.166 It also requires cooperation among all federal agencies that may be involved in the project.167 Under NEPA, all direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts of the action must be considered, as well as alternatives to the proposal and possible means of mitigating adverse effects.168 NEPA's mandate, however, is essentially procedural; it does not create any new substantive rights and does not require that a federal agency make a particular decision in light of its investigation.169 The focus, instead, is on making informed decisions.
Jackson saw the National Land Use Policy Act as an integral component in crafting this nation's environmental policy.
(NEPA applies to "every recommendation or report on proposals ... and other major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." 42 U.S.C.A. §4332(2)(c) There is a "proposal" if the agency proposes to take action, itself or, if the agency issues a permit, approves a lease, grants a license or funds another party to act, which action may affect the environment. Scientists' Institute for Public Information, Inc. v. Atomic Energy Commission, 156 U.S.App.D.C. 395, 481 F.2d 1079 (1973). The term "major" has been interpreted by the courts as reinforcing the term "significant." Thus, actions which are deemed not to have a significant environmental impact will most likely not be considered a major action. Cronin v. United States Department of Agriculture, 919 F.2d 439 (7th Cir. 1990).
(In certain instances, a full Environmental Impact Statement may be required. Under these circumstances, the lead agency, as well as all other federal agencies that are involved in the project, including those who have a special expertise with respect to the environmental impact of the project are encouraged to participate in the process. 42 U.S.C.A. § 4332.
(Courts have been extremely deferential when reviewing of the adequacy of an EIS. National Trust for Historic Preservation v. Dole, 828 F.2d 776 (D.C. Cir. 1987)(standard of review is whether the agency's action is arbitrary and capricious); Warm Springs Dam Task Force v. Gribble, 621 F.2d 1017 (1980) (test is whether the agency made a good faith attempt to discuss the foreseeable environmental consequences.)