National Environmental Policy Act
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was hailed at the time as a landmark pieces of U.S. environmental legislation reflecting increasing public concern about the environment.
The stated purposes of the act are "To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality." 
NEPA and fracking
On March 20, 2012, the USDA reversed earlier statements that its rural housing loans on properties with gas drilling leases would have to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), instead authorizing an Administrative Notice stating that rural housing loans would be excluded from NEPA. Critics say exempting rural housing loans from NEPA means that gas drilling leases will be exempt from the federal regulations and the legal recourse and other public interest protections the law was meant to provide. In a Bloomberg News National Poll, U.S. residents stated that they want greater regulation of fracking. More than three times as many Americans said there should be more regulation of fracking.
- Lucia Graves, "USDA Reverses Itself and Exempts Rural Properties with Gas Drilling Leases from NEPA" Huff Po, March 20, 2012.
- "Tighter Fracking Regulations Favored by 65% of U.S. in Poll" Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg, March 14, 2012.
- Juliet Eilperin, "A GOP Key to Unlocking NEPA: Party Links Environmental Law to Delay, Paperwork, Lawsuits", Washington Post, January 6, 2006; Page A17.
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