See the Notes section for a listing of Executive Orders affected by or related to the issuance of this Executive Order.
Executive Order 12114 of January 4, 1979
Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions
By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United states, and as President of the United States, in order to further environmental objectives consistent with the foreign policy and national security policy of the United States, it is ordered as follows:
Purpose and Scope. The purpose of this Executive Order is to enable responsible officials of Federal agencies having ultimate responsibility for authorizing and approving actions encompassed by this Order to be informed of pertinent environmental considerations and to take such considerations into account, with other pertinent considerations of national policy, in making decisions regarding such actions. While based on independent authority, this Order furthers the purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act and the Deepwater Port Act consistent with the foreign policy and national security policy of the United States, and represents the United States government's exclusive and complete determination of the procedural and other actions to be taken by Federal agencies to further the purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act, with respect to the environment outside the United States, its territories and possessions.
Agency Procedures. Every Federal agency taking major Federal actions encompassed hereby and not exempted herefrom having significant effects on the environment outside the geographical borders of the United States and its territories and possessions shall within eight months after the effective date of this Order have in effect procedures to implement this Order. Agencies shall consult with the Department of State and the Council on Environmental Quality concerning such procedures prior to placing them in effect.
Information Exchange. To assist in effectuating the foregoing purpose, the Department of State and the Council on Environmental Quality in collaboration with other interested Federal agencies and other nations shall conduct a program for exchange on a continuing basis of information concerning the environment. The objectives of this program shall be to provide information for use by decisionmakers, to heighten awareness of and interest in environmental concerns and, as appropriate, to facilitate environmental cooperation with foreign nations.
Actions Included. Agencies in their procedures under Section 2-1 shall establish procedures by which their officers having ultimate responsibility for authority and approving actions in one of the following categories encompassed by this Order, take into consideration in making decisions concerning such actions, a document described in Section 2-4(a):
major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment of the global commons outside the jurisdiction of any nation (e.g., the oceans or Antarctica);
major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment of a foreign nation not participating with the United States and not otherwise involved in the action;
major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment of a foreign nation which provide to that nation:
a product, or physical project producing a principal product or an emission or effluent, which is prohibited or strictly regulated by Federal law in the United States because its toxic effects on the environment create a serious public health risk; or
a physical project which in the United States is prohibited or strictly regulated by Federal law to protect the environment against radioactive substances.
major Federal actions outside the United States, its territories and possessions which significantly affect natural or ecological resources of global importance designated for protection under this subsection by the President, or, in the case of such a resource protected by international agreement binding on the United States, by the Secretary of State. Recommendations to the President under this subsection shall be accompanied by the views of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Secretary of State.
There are the following types of documents to be used in connection with actions described in Section 2-3:
environmental impact statements (including generic, program and specific statements);
bilateral or multilateral environmental studies, relevant or related to the proposed action, by the United States and one or more foreign nations, or by an international body or organization in which the United States is a member or participant; or
concise reviews of the environmental issues involved, including environmental assessments, summary environmental analyses or other appropriate documents.
Agencies shall in their procedures provide for preparation of documents described in Section 2-4(a), with respect to actions described in Section 2-3, as follows:
for effects described in Section 2-3(a), an environmental impact statement described in Section 2-4(a)(i);
for effects described in Section 2-3(b), a document described in Section 2-4(a)(ii) or (iii), as determined by the agency;
for effects described in Section 2-3(c), a document described in Section 2-4(a)(ii) or (iii), as determined by the agency;
for effects described in Section 2-3(d), a document described in Section 2-4(a)(i), (ii) or (iii), as determined by the agency.
Such procedures may provide that an agency need not prepare a new document when a document described in Section 2-4(a) already exists.
Nothing in this Order shall serve to invalidate any existing regulations of any agency which have been adopted pursuant to court order or pursuant to judicial settlement of any case or to prevent any agency from providing in its procedures for measures in addition to those provided for herein to further the purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws, including the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act and the Deepwater Port Act, consistent with the foreign and national security policies of the United States.
Except as provided in Section 2-5(b), agencies taking action encompassed by this Order shall, as soon as feasible, inform other Federal agencies with relevant expertise of the availability of environmental documents prepared under this Order.
Agencies in their procedures under Section 2-1 shall make appropriate provision for determining when an affected nation shall be informed in accordance with Section 3-2 of this Order of the availability of environmental documents prepared pursuant to those procedures.
In order to avoid duplication of resources, agencies in their procedures shall provide for appropriate utilization of the resources of other Federal agencies with relevant environmental jurisdiction or expertise.
Exemptions and Considerations.
Notwithstanding Section 2-3, the following actions are exempt from this Order:
actions not having a significant effect on the environment outside the United States as determined by the agency;
actions taken by the President;
actions taken by or pursuant to the direction of the President or Cabinet officer when the national security or interest is involved or when the action occurs in the course of an armed conflict;
intelligence activities and arms transfers;
export licenses or permits or export approvals, and actions relating to nuclear activities except actions providing to a foreign nation a nuclear production or utilization facility as defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or a nuclear waste management facility;
votes and other actions in international conferences and organizations;
disaster and emergency relief action.
Agency procedures under Section 2-1 implementing Section 2-4 may provide for appropriate modifications in the contents, timing and availability of documents to other affected Federal agencies and affected nations, where necessary to:
enable the agency to decide and act promptly as and when required;
avoid adverse impacts on foreign relations or infringement in fact or appearance of other nations' sovereign responsibilities, or
ensure appropriate reflection of:
international commercial, competitive and export promotion factors;
needs for governmental or commercial confidentiality;
national security considerations;
difficulties of obtaining information and agency ability to analyze meaningfully environmental effects of a proposed action; and
the degree to which the agency is involved in or able to affect a decision to be made.
Agency procedure under Section 2-1 may provide for categorical exclusions and for such exemptions in addition to those specified in subsection (a) of this Section as may be necessary to meet emergency circumstances, situations involving exceptional foreign policy and national security sensitivities and other such special circumstances. In utilizing such additional exemptions agencies shall, as soon as feasible, consult with the Department of State and the Council on Environmental Quality.
The provisions of Section 2-5 do not apply to actions described in Section 2-3(a) unless permitted by law.
Rights of Action. This Order is solely for the purpose of establishing internal procedures for Federal agencies to consider the significant effects of their actions on the environment outside the United States, its territories and possessions, and nothing in this Order shall be construed to create a cause of action.
Foreign Relations. The Department of State shall coordinate all communications by agencies with foreign governments concerning environmental agreements and other arrangements in implementation of this Order.
Multi-Agency Actions. Where more than one Federal agency is involved in an action or program, a lead agency, as determined by the agencies involved, shall have responsibility for implementation of this Order.
Certain Terms. For purposes of this Order, “environment” means the natural and physical environment and excludes social, economic and other environments; and an action significantly affects the environment if it does significant harm to the environment even though on balance the agency believes the action to be beneficial to the environment. The term “export approvals” in Section 2-5(a)(v) does not mean or include direct loans to finance exports.
Multiple Impacts. If a major Federal action having effects on the environment of the United States or the global commons requires preparation of an environmental impact statement, and if the action also has effects on the environment of a foreign nation, an environmental impact statement need not be prepared with respect to the effects on the environment of the foreign nation.