Environmental Review Process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) established an environmental policy that requires Federal agencies to consider the impacts of their proposed activities, programs, and projects on the environment. NEPA requires the Federal Government to disclose and consider the effects of major Federal actions on the human environment. Federal actions covered by NEPA include actions taken directly by the Federal Government and those requiring Federal approval.

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) will serve as the lead federal agency for compliance with NEPA. NCPC will work in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution to complete an Environmental Assessment for the Master Plan.

National Environmental Policy Act Process

Link to image of the National Environmental Policy Act Process

Purpose and Need

The purpose of the Master Plan is to improve the alignment between Smithsonian facilities and their strategic plan, increase public access and realize benefits from the efficiencies of an integrated plan. Preparing a Master Plan will allow the SI to optimize the benefits of connections between projects and to take advantage of cost and space saving synergies among facilities. A primary goal of the Master Plan is also to improve and expand visitor services and education by providing spaces for public gatherings and programming as well as retail and food service.

The Master Plan is needed to provide a coordinated approach to revitalize, replace and renovate current buildings and building systems, such as mechanical and electrical systems, within the South Mall area that are reaching the end of their useful life. The Master Plan is also needed to improve access to, circulation within, and visibility of the South Mall Campus.