The Extraterritorial Scope of NEPA’s Environmental Impact Statement Requirement

This Note analyzes the extent to which NEPA’s section 102(2) procedural requirements, specifically the impact statement requirement of section 102(2) (C), apply to federal agencies in their activities abroad. After determining that Congress does possess the authority to extend the requirements of NEPA to all federal agency actions, and that legislative intent will thus control the territorial scope of these requirements, consideration will be given to the presumption against the extraterritorial application of congressional enactments. It will be concluded that a “clear statement” of congressional intent is not required in the case of NEPA and that the scope of the Act should be determined by considering all relevant manifestations of congressional intent. This Note will therefore analyze NEPA’s language and legislative history and the policy considerations relevant to extraterritorial application of the impact statement requirement and, on the basis of this analysis, conclude that the NEPA procedural requirements apply to federal activities anywhere in the world.