After 50 years, the first changes to the detailed regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) have been proposed. Blue Access filed comments, posted here, on the proposed changes before the close of the comment period on March 10, 2020. While we support efforts to modernize and streamline the NEPA process, some of the substantive changes proposed will profoundly limit community participation in certain project decisions, and narrows the scope of a NEPA review in a way that will negatively impact on communities. Our comments focus on those provisions.
When it was passed in 1970, NEPA broke new ground as the first comprehensive effort to address environmental impacts of federal agency decisions. NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental, social, and economic effects of proposed federal actions like granting permits, constructing highways, pipelines, bridges, and other publicly-owned facilities, and managing federal lands, and to give the public the opportunity to weigh in on those decisions.
Below are the comments filed by Blue Access.