Quotes on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

"An August 2007 report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)...estimates that the current average time to complete a NEPA review for a major transportation project is 60 months, or 5 years."

Ross Eisenberg
Shovel This: Senate Acknowledges NEPA is a Problem for Infrastructure
February 6, 2009

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"The effects of a broken NEPA process on our rural communities and our schools is catastrophic. Here in the US we are wasting resources, throwing away family wage jobs, not adequately funding schools and allowing remaining mill infrastructure to be dismantled. In a time of federal deficit spending, federal agency fund shortages, and state funding crisis we are literally throwing away dollars that could fuel our economy and fund our schools. Worse than that, the effect of delay, is causing serious damage to our environment and deterioration of our National Forests. Those of us who live in communities with burned forests, drive through or fly over miles, and miles of burned areas, too late to restore. That is our legacy to our children."

Sue Kupillas, Executive Director, Communities for Healthy Forests
The Role of NEPA in the Intermountain States
House Committee on Resources Hearings
August 1, 2005

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"NEPA has evolved into a logjam of overwhelming scale and proportions. [It] is actually causing forest watersheds and habitats to deteriorate as a result of litigation, appeals, and gridlock.  Without improvements in NEPA, including modernizing this common sense law and its regulations, I have little hope that our land managers will be able to get back to managing and protecting forests, key watersheds, critical wildlife habitats, rural communities and people."

Jim Matson, Four Corners Representative of the American Forest Resource Council
cited in
House Task Force Hears Testimony on Improving Decades-Old Environmental Law
Michael Coulter
Environment & Climate News
August 1, 2005

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"For major projects, the median time for EISs (from Notice of Intent to a Record of Decision) is five years. Below are some examples of projects that experienced even longer NEPA reviews:

Legacy Parkway in Utah                      8 years, 10 months
Juneau Access Road                           12 years, 2 months
Cross Base Highway in Washington    8 years, 4 months
Ohio River Bridges in Louisville           5 years, 6 months

As an additional 2-3 years may be required for planning before highway projects are ready to enter the environmental review process, major projects can often require 8 or more years in the planning and environmental pipeline."

Transportation Invest In Our Future: Accelerating Project Delivery

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
August 2007

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Commentary or Blog Post

House Task Force Hears Testimony on Improving Decades-Old Environmental Law
Michael Coulter
Environment & Climate News
August 1, 2005

This article reports on the new U.S. House of Representatives task force charged with reviewing NEPA. The article discusses...

Shovel This: Senate Acknowledges NEPA is a Problem for Infrastructure
Ross Eisenberg
The Chamber Post
February 6, 2009

This article discusses the average time spent on litigation by projects that trigger NEPA...

Chart or Graph

NEPA can add 4 to 6 years to a transportation project.

Analysis Report White Paper

McCubbins discusses the issue of Congress delegating legislative authority to the executive branch, and particularly the agencies within the executive branch. McCubbins points out that that delegation has been taking place since the 1880s and the likelihood of rolling it back completely is unlikely.

"This article provides post-Winter guidance to federal courts addressing issues under NEPA where the Supreme Court has not definitively spoken."

This commentary discusses the views of the American Farm Bureau Federation on NEPA and its concern that NEPA, by paralyzing effective forest management operations, is actually contributing to an increase in "stand replacing" wildfires.

A task force reviewed NEPA implementing practices and procedures in the following areas: technology and information management and security; federal and intergovernmental collaboration; programmatic analyses and subsequent tiered documents; and adaptive management and monitoring.

Eagle focuses on property rights in the piece, but references NEPA on pages 28 and 29 and how Takings Impact Assessment Statutes at the state level could be modeled after NEPA to bolster property rights.

Unsurprisingly, this government study of NEPA, by the government office charged with implementing NEPA, finds NEPA is a success. The study's major critique of NEPA is that agencies do not always properly incorporate the Environmental Impact Statement into their decision-making process.

This report details the impediments that NEPA and other well meaning but poorly coordinated environmental regulations can result in transportation projects spending four to six years complying with regulation before construction can start.

Video/Podcast/Media

"The FTA's guide to becoming an effective and constructive participant in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process."

 

Primary Document

NEPA Handbook
Bureau of Land Management
January 2008

The handbook was revised in 2008 in an effort to streamline NEPA and reduce the costs of implementation.

 

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.

The Role of NEPA in the Intermountain States
House Committee on Resources Hearings
August 1, 2005

Click on the link to read testimonies before the House Task Force on Improving NEPA.

Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council
United States Supreme Court
No. 07–1239
November 12, 2008

The Natural Resources Defense Council held that the Navy's use of "mid-frequency active" (MFA) sonar during training exercises in the waters off southern California...

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