The Council on Environmental Quality points out that it needs to “modernize” and “update” regulations to “facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by simplifying and clarifying regulatory requirements.” Its notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on January 10 is designed to “reduce unnecessary paperwork and delays, and to promote better decision-making,” it says. It responds to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2017 Executive Order 13807 establishing a “One Federal Decision” policy, including a two-year goal for completing environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects. “The increased costs and complexity of NEPA reviews and litigation make it very challenging for large and small businesses to plan, finance, and build projects in the United States,” the council says in a fact sheet. However, the rules also apply to reviews of government projects, notes Lisa DeVille, who testified about the proposal on behalf of Ft. Berthold POWER (Protectors of Water and Earth Rights), from Mandaree, North Dakota. “For tribal communities like Fort Berthold, which bear the brunt of health problems such as heart disease and asthma from the poorly planned federal projects, NEPA isn’t just an environmental protection law, it’s a critical tool for ensuring our voice. We cannot afford to lose it,” said DeVille, a tribal member of the Mandan Hidatsa & Arikara Nation. “Any law that provides broad opportunities for public participation in government decisions that affect the environment and local communities shouldn’t be rolled back; rather, laws like NEPA should be embraced and strengthened. NEPA is one of the only avenues for tribal members to have any input on federal actions,” she said. Written comments will be accepted until March 10 via any of the following methods. Go to regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments to Docket ID No. CEQ-2019-0003. Fax to 202-456-6546, or mail to Council on Environmental Quality / 730 Jackson Place NW / Washington, DC 20503 / Attn: Docket No. CEQ-2019-0003.
“NEPA isn’t just an environmental protection law, it’s a critical tool for ensuring our voice. We cannot afford to lose...Posted by Western Organization of Resource Councils on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
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