Environment

Why NEPA matters and why the public should speak-up to protect this bedrock environmental law (podcast)

The Trump administration’s move to narrow clean water protections is not the only policy maneuver this month that has North Carolina environmentalists worried.

Earlier this month the administration proposed weakening key aspects of NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act.

As reporter Lisa Sorg explained on our site:

NEPA doesn’t dictate environmental decisions, but the process is designed to ensure that agencies follow a proper procedure, including robust public input, to reach its conclusions. In other words, as NEPA’s guiding principle states, the law is intended to “… foster and promote the general welfare. Man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.”

For example, NEPA currently requires a full analysis and assessment of environmental impacts, including cumulative and indirect ones – such as climate change. But the Trump administration would would eliminate considerations for climate change impacts – a very real and existential threat – that accompany natural gas pipelines, fracking operations and offshore drilling. Meanwhile, economic considerations would be mandatory.

Last week we sat down with attorney Kym Hunter of the Southern Environmental Law Center to discuss efforts by the Trump administration to gut this 50-year-old landmark rule.

A public comment period on changes to NEPA runs through March 10th. A public hearing will also be held in Washington, DC, on Feb. 25. Details on how and where to comment are on the Council for Environmental Quality website.

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