National Environmental Policy Act

What is NEPA?

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) was signed into law on January 1, 1970. NEPA is our basic national charter for protecting the environment. NEPA requires federal agencies, like the U.S. Air Force, to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. Using the NEPA process, agencies evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions. Agencies also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those evaluations.

What is an EIS?

If a federal agency’s project or activity, like the Air Force’s deploying the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and decommissioning and disposal of the Minuteman III, has the potential to cause significant adverse effects on the natural or human environment, NEPA requires the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS is a document that presents an in-depth analysis of the potential effects of the proposed action and its alternatives. Preparing an EIS includes opportunities for public involvement in the agency planning/decision-making processes. The document begins with a description of the baseline conditions of the affected environment. The effects of the proposed action and alternative actions are evaluated against this baseline. An EIS defines the project’s potential environmental consequences and the measures that should be taken to mitigate those effects. An EIS is used by federal and state officials, in conjunction with other relevant material, to plan actions and make decisions.

What if the analysis in the EIS shows there will be a significant adverse effect?

If the analysis suggests a potentially significant effect would occur from the proposed action or its alternatives, the Air Force would develop appropriate mitigation measures to offset the adverse effects. The proposed action might have significant effects that are not mitigable to less than significant.

Where can I receive additional information or stay informed on the progress of the EIS?

You may visit the project website at The website provides information on the project, including dates and locations of public meetings, all the materials being provided during the Draft EIS public hearings, the Draft EIS for review and comment, and methods for providing comments on the Draft EIS to the Air Force.

When do you expect the EIS to be complete and the final decision made?

At this time, we expect the EIS to be finalized in the spring of 2023 and a Record of Decision to be signed no less than 30 days after issuance of the Final EIS.