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Proposal Would Stifle Public Participation in Federal Projects, Threaten Public Health, Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Scheduled new proposed changes to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations will fundamentally undermine public input on major federal actions and weaken public health and environmental protections for wildlife and people alike. The National Wildlife Federation called on the Council on Environmental Quality to abandon its attack on NEPA and fulfill its mission to ensure that federal agencies protect the environment, support public health and prevent wasteful spending.

“The National Environmental Policy Act ensures that major federal projects incorporate public input and adequately consider environmental impacts,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We urge the Administration to withdraw this misguided proposal that will eviscerate the public’s right to be heard and jettison science-based decision-making. Now more than ever, we cannot afford to further degrade critical wildlife habitat, inflict frontline communities with new environmental injustices or allow our hard-earned tax dollars to be wasted.”

Based on previews of what will be in the proposed rule, it would:

Limit review to those effects that have a tight causal connection to the action, again limiting consideration of often important other effects that degrade natural resources and habitat.
Place arbitrary time and length limits on the scope of review.
Further increase the number of projects that will be categorically excluded, meaning that will have no review or no opportunity for public input.
Eliminate the assessment of “cumulative impacts,” which includes important considerations like climate change and other incremental but harmful changes over time.

 

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