The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) was the first major environmental law in the United States. The statute "was devised to establish a comprehensive national policy which would ... guid[e] federal activity and provid[e] for a coordinated, informed approach toward dealing with environmental problems." Since NEPA's enactment, agencies have been "required to prepare environmental analyses, with input from the state and local governments, Indian tribes, the public, and other federal agencies, when considering a proposal for a major federal action." Although most of the environmental impact assessment law in the world is modeled on NEPA and the impact assessment process developed under that Act, individual countries often have specific requirements in their laws that differ slightly from the NEPA model. The differences between NEPA and the laws of other countries may be the result of cultural or temporal differences based on when each individual country's environmental impact assessment law was adopted. Cultural differences reflect various socio-economic levels, geographic characteristics, and governmental organizational schemes. Countries that have adopted environmental impact assessment laws more recently often focus their policy on sustainable development or the right of human beings to live in a clean and healthy environment, in addition to the NEPA formula for environmental impact assessment.
Heather N. Stevenson,
Environmental Impact Assessment Laws in the Nineties: Can the United States and Mexico Learn From Each Other?,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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