CEQ developed this guide to help citizens and organizations effectively participate in Federal agencies’ environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires the consideration of environmental effects in Federal decision making.

The Federal Government takes hundreds of actions every day that may be subject to NEPA, including Federal construction projects, plans to manage and develop federally owned lands, and Federal approvals of non-Federal activities such as grants, licenses, and permits. The environmental review process under NEPA provides an opportunity for citizens to get involved in a Federal agency’s decision-making process. This guide will help you understand proposals for Federal actions, when to offer your thoughts on alternative ways for the agency to accomplish what it proposes, and how to offer your comments on the agency’s analysis of the environmental effects of the proposed action and possible mitigation of potential harmful effects of such actions.


The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) revised this guide in January 2021 to reflect the updated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Regulations that became effective on September 14, 2020. This guide is informational, does not establish new requirements, and is not formal CEQ guidance. The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

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