Twelfth Annual Advanced ALI-ABA Course of Study NEPA and Related Requirements

December 9-12, 2009
Washington, DC

Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969 to create a national environmental policy, to establish the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and to require federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of their actions and to prepare and promulgate environmental impact statements (EISs) for major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Almost immediately, NEPA had a considerable effect on federal decision-making and environmental litigation. It still does, as demonstrated by a steady docket of litigation and continued interest in the law by Congress.

NEPA also spurred many states, some municipalities, and tribal governments to enact analogs ("Little NEPAs"). Outside the U.S., nearly 100 countries have enacted statutes modeled after NEPA, and environmental impact assessment now is required by many multilateral organizations prior to decision-making.

NEPA and "Little NEPA" requirements led to the development of a professional field of environmental impact assessment. Federal, state, and municipal agency officials, together with outside attorneys and environmental consulting firms, constitute a large industry of attorneys, planners, scientists, and other experts of many disciplines.


NEPA is relevant to a broad range of issues. It is being used to identify how proposed federal actions may affect - or be affected by - climate change with both the federal government and states giving increasing attention to this issue in the context of environmental impact assessment law. In regards to this issue and other challenges, practitioners are watching for new direction from the Obama Administration. By the time this program is presented, we anticipate that the Council on Environmental Quality may have issued new guidance on NEPA and climate change.


This annual advanced course of study covers the present state of the law and practice pertaining to NEPA, "Little NEPAs," and the EIS process, and includes reflections on the future. The faculty includes some of the most experienced federal and state government agency officials and attorneys, as well as private attorneys engaged in environmental assessments, EIS preparation, and NEPA-related litigation in federal and state courts.

Topics include:

Climate change and the EIS

The role of federal agencies in the NEPA process

NEPA litigation

Categorical exclusions

Cumulative and synergistic impacts

Current developments in the executive and legislative branches

Meet the Speakers

Michael B. Gerrard
Senior Counsel
Arnold & Porter
Jonathan S. Martel
Arnold & Porter
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