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EPA Report on the Environment

Smokestacks
7.22.05
Science and Health:
Politics and Science
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The Council on Environmental Quality

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is the President's principal environmental policy advisory group. Overseeing all federal activities that affect the environment, the CEQ coordinates environmental efforts to make sure all agencies meet their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The CEQ is sometimes called the "court of last resort for environmental disputes within the government." When such situations arise, the council may conduct hearings, mediate the dispute, or make a recommendation to the President.

Specific functions of the CEQ include the following:

  • Advise and assist the President in the development of environmental policies and proposed legislation as requested by the President;
  • Advise the President on national and international policies relating to the environment;
  • Identify, assess, and report on trends in environmental quality and recommend appropriate response strategies;
  • Oversee federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process and act as a referee for interagency disputes regarding the adequacy of such assessments;
  • Report annually to the President on the state of the environment through preparation of the annual Environmental Quality Report;
  • Provide general support and leadership to the coordination of activities of the federal departments and agencies which affect, protect, and improve environmental quality;
  • Support and participate in the government-wide effort to reinvent environmental regulation;
  • Foster cooperation between the federal, state and local governments, the private sector and American citizens on matters of environmental concern;
  • Interpret NEPA and the CEQ regulations in response to requests from federal, state and local agencies and citizens, and;
  • Approve agency NEPA procedures and issue guidance to address systemic problems.

Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; The White House.



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