The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

For Historic Preservationists and Cultural Resource Managers

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) can be a powerful tool for managing the impacts of the modern world on "cultural resources" such as historic buildings, historic districts, archeological sites, Native American traditional places, and traditional ways of life.

This page and its links are designed to help people concerned about cultural resources understand how the review of Federal projects under NEPA works. It also may help people doing NEPA review understand how cultural resources, and the laws that deal with such resources, can be addressed in environmental impact analyses under NEPA.

These pages are designed for use mostly by two kinds of people:

  • People who are officially or unofficially concerned about impacts on cultural resources, and who are consulted during, or who review, NEPA analyses and the documents that describe them. If you're such a person, you may find help in the "Reviewer Tips" sprinkled through the pages that follow.
  • People who work on environmental impact analyses under NEPA, and who want to figure out how to address impacts on cultural resources. If that's who you are, you may benefit by checking the "Analyst Tips" that are also found throughout these pages.

This page and its links were developed under a grant from the National Park Service and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the National Preservation Institute and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the National Park Service or the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.


What is NEPA?

What are "Cultural Resources"?

U.S. Government Policy Under NEPA

NEPA Terminology

The NEPA Review Process

NEPA Regulations

Suggestions for Instructional Use


Categorical Exclusion

Environmental Assessments and Findings of No Significant Impact

Environmental Impact Statement and Records of Decision

NEPA and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

Substituting NEPA for Section 106 Review