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National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

NEPA is a U.S. federal law that requires federal agencies to identify and analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposed action before deciding whether to proceed with that action. The law encourages and facilitates public involvement to inform decision makers on actions that may affect the community or the environment. 

The Navy is committed to an open and transparent public process.



 NEPA Process

Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS/OEIS
Fall 2023 


Scoping Period
Fall 2023

Public Release of the Draft EIS/OEIS

Fall 2024

 Public Meetings and Draft EIS/OEIS
Public Review and Comment Period
Fall 2024

Public Release of the Final EIS/OEIS
Summer 2025
30-Day Wait Period

Fall 2025

Record of Decision
Fall 2025  
   Opportunity for Public
Review and Comment








Importance of Public Involvement

Public and agency input allows decision makers to benefit from local knowledge and consider community issues and concerns. The public participates in the NEPA process during the following stages by:

  • Scoping Period: Helping to identify the scope of the analysis, including potential environmental issues and viable alternatives
  • Draft EIS/OEIS Public Review and Comment Period: Evaluating and providing substantive comments on the draft analysis
  • Final EIS/OEIS Wait Period: Reviewing the Final EIS/OEIS and Naval Services responses to substantive comments received on the Draft EIS/OEIS

Other Regulatory Processes and Public Involvement Opportunities

Due to the use of active sonar and explosives during some training and testing activities, the Naval Services will apply for permits and authorizations under the MMPA with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Naval Services will request from NMFS authorization for the unintentional take of marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii California Training and Testing Study Area. NMFS will request public comments on its Proposed Rule to issue regulations and a subsequent Letter of Authorization to the Naval Services. After the NEPA process is complete, NMFS would make the determination whether to issue a Final Rule and Letter of Authorization. 

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 Consultation

Concurrent with the NEPA public involvement process, the Naval Services will conduct NHPA section 106 consultations regarding potential effects of the Proposed Action on historic properties. Historic properties include districts, sites, buildings, structures, or objects listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. 



Substantive Public Comments on the Hawaii California Training and Testing EIS/OEIS

Submitting substantive and concise public comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS is one of the most important aspects of the NEPA process.

 The most effective comments are those that provide useful information to the Navy. For instance, submit comments if you find:

  • An error in analysis that may affect the outcome
  • New information that would change the analysis and conclusions
  • Any peer-reviewed scientific literature that should be considered in the analysis
  • Something that should be clarified
  • A substantially different alternative that meets the purpose and need statement and has not been considered

General recommendations to keep in mind when making comments on any NEPA document:

  • Support statements with details. If, for example, you are concerned about biological resources, it is helpful to focus on a particular problem or issue, such as a species that you feel was not sufficiently analyzed, instead of making a broad statement such as “the Navy did not adequately analyze the impacts on biological resources.” 
  • Back up your statements with explanations, facts, and references, as appropriate.
  • Be as specific as possible with your comments and refer to page numbers and paragraphs in the Draft EIS/OEIS.
  • Keep your comments focused on the specifics of the proposed project under consideration.
  • Submit your comments within the timeframes announced to ensure that your concerns are considered and addressed in the Final EIS/OEIS.
  • Request to be included on the EIS/OEIS mailing list to receive notification of public meetings and project information.
  • Recognize that the potential impacts on resources are likely to be described in more than one section because there are interrelationships between the resources and programs.
  • Become familiar with the contents of the Draft EIS/OEIS, including the purpose and need statement and the responsibilities of the lead agency (Navy).
  • Review the agency website to become familiar with the proposed project, learn about the NEPA process, understand the responsibilities and authorities of the federal agency, keep up to date on public meetings and comment periods, get answers to frequently asked questions, and view agency notifications.
  • Comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS are not counted as votes or as part of a referendum on Navy decisions. They are used to improve the document and analyses, and to ensure that the impacts are adequately determined before the Navy makes a final decision on the proposed project. Therefore, avoid comments that state “I am in favor of this project,” or “I am opposed to this project.” Remember that the more clear, concise, and relevant to the Draft EIS/OEIS your comments are, the more effective they will be and the more likely it is that they will be utilized to improve the final documents and affect the agency decisions. 

Public participation is an important part of the National Environmental Policy Act process. Submitting substantive and concise comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS is one of the most important aspects of that process.






A cooperating agency is any agency, other than the lead agency, which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise concerning an environmental impact involved in a proposal. Federal agencies with jurisdiction by law and special expertise with respect to all reasonable alternatives or significant environmental, social, or economic impacts associated with the action were invited to be a cooperating agency. The National Marine Fisheries Service is a cooperating agency for the EIS/OEIS due to its regulatory responsibility for administering the Marine Mammal Protection Act permit program.

Resource Areas to be Analyzed in the Draft EIS/OEIS

The Naval Services will analyze the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the following environmental resource areas:

Physical Resources:

  • Air quality
  • Sediments and water quality

Biological Resources:

  • Vegetation
  • Invertebrates
  • Habitats
  • Fishes
  • Marine mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Birds

Human Resources:

  • Cultural
  • Socioeconomic
  • Public health and safety

Minimizing impacts on the marine environment from training and testing is important to the Naval Services. The Naval Services will continue to implement mitigation and monitoring measures to avoid or reduce environmental impacts from naval activities.

The Naval Services will comply with all applicable federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders, including, but not limited to, Executive Order 12114, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and Coastal Zone Management Act.