In order to understand the legal application of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) it is necessary to first have a basic understanding of what NEPA is and how it functions. NEPA has been described as a purely procedural law. NEPA does not dictate an outcome, rather it prescribes a process . for reaching a final decision.
NEPA has two principal goals: 1) to ensure that decision makers take environmental considerations into account; and 2) to ensure that Congress and the public have knowledge of the environmental impacts of decisions being taken. 5 To meet these goals,NEPA requires all federal agencies to prepare and make public an environmental impact statement for “every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and .other major federal actions significantly affecting the human environment. ”