Section 102 of the NEPA has three primary parts related to the EIA process. Part A specifies that all federal government agencies will use a systematic, interdisciplinary approach, which ensures the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and environmental design arts in planning and decision making that may impact the human environment. Part B requires agencies to identify and develop methods and procedures to ensure that presently unquan-tified environmental amenities and values are considered in decision making along with economic and technical considerations. This part has provided impetus for the development of environmental assessment methods. Part C states the necessity for preparing environmental statements (called environmental impact statements or EISs) and identifies basic items to be included.
To aid the implementation of the EIS requirement, the NEPA also created the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President of the United States. This council has the role of providing overall coordination to the EIA process in the United States. CEQ issued guidelines in 1971 and 1973 for federal agencies to follow in conjunction with EISs. In 1978, the CEQ issued regulations which became effective in mid-1979 for responding to the requirements of the NEPA (Council on Environmental Quality 1978).
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