7 CFR 799.1 - Background.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) establishes national policies and goals for the protection of the environment. Section 102(2) of NEPA contains certain procedural requirements directed toward the attainment of such goals. Section (102)(2) also requires all Federal agencies to give appropriate consideration to the environmental effects of their proposed actions in their decisionmaking and to prepare detailed environmental statements on recommendations or reports on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Executive Order 11991 of May 24, 1977 (42 FR 26967), directed the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to issue regulations to implement the procedural provisions of NEPA. Accordingly, CEQ issued final NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508) on November 29, 1978, which are binding on all Federal agencies as of July 30, 1979. These regulations provide that each Federal agency shall as necessary adopt implementing procedures to supplement the regulations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted such procedures in a final rule (7 CFR part 3100) published on July 30, 1979. The CEQ regulations at 40 CFR 1507.3 (b) identify those items which must be addressed in agency procedures.