The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies 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. Specifically, all federal agencies are to prepare detailed statements assessing the environmental impact of and alternatives to major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. These statements are commonly referred to as Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Environmental Assessments (EA). Agencies also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those statements.
The Council for Environment Quality regulations allows federal agencies to exclude from documentation in an EA or EIS categories of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Meaning, these categorical exclusions are actions that do not normally require preparation of an EA or EIS, absent extraordinary circumstances.
After review and consultation, the Commission has determined the following types of actions are eligible for categorical exclusions: Category 1, Administrative and Routine Office Activities; Category 2, Regulation, Monitoring and Oversight of Indian Gaming Activities; and Category 3, Management Contract and Agreement Review Activities – that do not include any new construction or expansion of existing structures.
More information about NEPA, including categorical exclusions for certain Agency actions, and any documents that need to be published pursuant to NEPA can be found here:
- NIGC Protocol for Categorical Exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act, 2017
- NIGC Protocol for Categorical Exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act, 2012
- Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA
- The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4347