40 CFR § 1500.1 - Purpose and policy.
(a) The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a procedural statute intended to ensure Federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their actions in the decision-making process. Section 101 of NEPA establishes the national environmental policy of the Federal Government to use all practicable means and measures to foster and promote the general welfare, create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans. Section 102(2) of NEPA establishes the procedural requirements to carry out the policy stated in section 101 of NEPA. In particular, it requires Federal agencies to provide a detailed statement on proposals for major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The purpose and function of NEPA is satisfied if Federal agencies have considered relevant environmental information, and the public has been informed regarding the decision-making process. NEPA does not mandate particular results or substantive outcomes. NEPA's purpose is not to generate paperwork or litigation, but to provide for informed decision making and foster excellent action.
(b) The regulations in this subchapter implement section 102(2) of NEPA. They provide direction to Federal agencies to determine what actions are subject to NEPA's procedural requirements and the level of NEPA review where applicable. The regulations in this subchapter are intended to ensure that relevant environmental information is identified and considered early in the process in order to ensure informed decision making by Federal agencies. The regulations in this subchapter are also intended to ensure that Federal agencies conduct environmental reviews in a coordinated, consistent, predictable and timely manner, and to reduce unnecessary burdens and delays. Finally, the regulations in this subchapter promote concurrent environmental reviews to ensure timely and efficient decision making.