Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment

Environmental planning provides a process to identify environmental impacts, issues, and requirements associated with a project and to incorporate them into project planning and decision-making. Environmental planning is done early into the planning process for proposed GSFC projects and activities. This facilitates compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws, minimizes impacts to the environment, and avoids cost and schedule impacts to the project.

NASA uses the NEPA process as a framework for balanced and integrated environmental planning. NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of actions in their planning and decision-making processes. GSFC implements NEPA in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) and NASA's Procedures for Implementing NEPA (14 CFR 1216.3).

The environmental planning and impact assessment process:

  • Early in the planning stages of a project, the project manager contacts the NEPA Program Manager.
  • The manager completes the appropriate environmental evaluation checklist(s) as directed, and submits it to the NEPA Program Manager.
  • The NEPA Program Manager reviews the checklist(s), identifies potential environmental issues and compliance requirements, and determines the appropriate level of NEPA documentation required [i.e., Categorical Exclusion (CATEX), Environmental Assessment (EA), and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)].
  • The appropriate NEPA documentation is prepared in accordance with NPR 8580.1 and GPR 8500.1.
  • The NEPA Program Manager coordinates with the other environmental program managers in the Code 250 Medical and Environmental Management Division (Air, Water, Oil, Natural Resources, Hazardous Waste, and Remediation) to ensure that necessary actions are taken to meet the applicable requirements of environmental laws and regulations. This includes support for required permitting, reporting, mitigation and monitoring activities.

For more information about NEPA, visit NASA's NEPA program website.

NEPA Documents


Program Contacts

Beth Montgomery 301-286-0469