Categorical Exclusions and NEPA

Where: Online


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. NEPA requires federal agencies like the NPS to evaluate the environmental impacts of its actions prior to making decisions.

Although NEPA may conjure up images of complex projects, public meetings, and Environmental Impact Statements, most actions the NPS takes have no potential for significant environmental impact. Although these actions are still subject to NEPA, many of them are covered by Categorical Exclusions or CEs.

This 2-hour eLearning provides an overview of when and how to use CEs to comply with NEPA.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this learning activity, you'll be better able to:

  • Explain how NEPA applies to the NPS,
  • List the NEPA pathways,
  • Define a categorical exclusion (CE),
  • Describe the CE documentation and approval process, and
  • Recognize when it may be beneficial to develop a programmatic CE.

Estimated Completion Time

2 Hour/s


Target Audience: NPS staff who are responsible for day-to-day implementation of NEPA at park units and/or participate as interdisciplinary team members tasked with reviewing park projects. We highly recommend the class for park NEPA coordinators, planning and compliance program managers, planning and compliance specialists, staff with NEPA as a collateral duty, and superintendents.

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