Information in this post is shared from the Mississippi River Network.
With an emphasis on "smart from the start" federal decision making, NEPA protects our health, our homes, and our environment, while ensuring we, the public, have a voice. Since 1970, NEPA has empowered citizens and demanded government accountability on major projects such as constructing a dam, highway, or power plant.
NEPA is the cornerstone federal environmental law based on the common-sense notion of 'look before you leap', requiring that any major action undertaken, permitted, or funded by the federal government be assessed to determine its impact on our air, land, and waters. The NEPA process has saved money, time, lives, historical sites, endangered species, and public lands while encouraging compromise and cultivating better projects with more public support.
The law provides opportunities for communities and individuals to learn about projects affecting their neighborhoods, evaluate the impacts of the project as described in the Environmental Impact Statement, and make their voices heard through the public comment process.
Lowlights of the proposed changes include:
NEPA is truly the people's environmental law as it ensures the public has a voice - lend yours in support today!
The Mississippi River Network's Action page includes a form for submitting comments through their action network, or you can click "Read More" below for a link to the proposed rule and information on how to submit comments of your own. LWV UMRR has signed on to a group comment letter opposing the changes, and is sending additional comments on those parts of the changes that impact public participation in environmental decisions. The additional comment letter is attached below, FYI, as well as the LWV US position on public participation in environmental decision making.
THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS MARCH 10, SO ACT NOW.
Some examples of change language from the Council on Environmental Quality's proposed rule changes docket:
CEQ proposes to amend the introductory paragraph of § 1501.2, “Apply NEPA early in the process,” to change “shall” to “should” and “possible” to “reasonable.” Agencies need the discretion to structure the timing of their NEPA processes to align with their decision-making processes, consistent with their statutory authorities. Agencies need flexibility to determine the appropriate time to start the NEPA process, based on the context of the particular proposed action and governed by the rule of reason, so that the NEPA analysis meaningfully informs the agency's decision. The appropriate time to begin the NEPA process is dependent on when the agency has sufficient information and how it can most effectively integrate the NEPA review into the agency's decision-making process. Further, some have viewed this provision as a legally enforceable standard, rather than an opportunity for agencies to integrate NEPA into their decision-making programs and processes.
If you wish to comment on these proposed and oher proposed changes, here are the instructions:
CEQ must receive comments by March 10, 2020. CEQ will hold public hearings on the following dates:
1. February 11, 2020, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO.
2. February 25, 2020, U.S. Department of the Interior, Yates Auditorium, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC.
All attendees or speakers must register in advance. Details concerning the hearings and information on additional outreach may be found at www.nepa.gov and www.whitehouse.gov/ceq.
You may submit comments, identified by docket number CEQ-2019-0003, by any of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: Council on Environmental Quality, 730 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC 20503.
Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be private, Confidential Business Information (CBI), or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov.
For Further Information ContactEdward A. Boling, Associate Director for the National Environmental Policy Act, or Viktoria Z. Seale, Chief of Staff and General Counsel, 202-395-5750, NEPA-Update@ceq.eop.gov.
|LWV Upper Mississippi River Region||