NEPA

Background

Often called the "Magna Carta" of United States environmental policy, the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") is one of our oldest and most venerated environmental laws.  The Act establishes a national policy calling for “productive harmony” between man and nature, and imposes procedural duties on federal agencies to evaluate and publicly disclose the environmental consequences of their proposed actions before taking steps that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.  Apart from improving the substance of agency decisions, NEPA reinforces the democratic system by providing an avenue for citizens to comment upon and influence government decisions that affect their lives.

The Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute has issued NEPA Under Siege, a report addressing the current political attacks on NEPA.  Authored by Robert Dreher, the report describes the way that NEPA functions in federal decision-making, identifies the many current legislative and administrative threats to its integrity and survival, and offers a critical evaluation of the rationales advanced by NEPA’s opponents for these attacks on the law.  The report closes with a call for meaningful improvements in NEPA’s implementation, rather than attempts to circumvent its mandate

 


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