The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that government agencies understand the environmental, health, and other impacts of their actions before they spend our tax dollars, and that the American public be involved and informed. NEPA is designed to ensure that agencies analyze risks and alternatives, and make decisions based on the facts. NEPA studies have improved decision making, prevented many misguided and ill-informed actions, and saved untold numbers of American lives.
Unfortunately, NEPA is under attack by the Trump Administration and the Congress. Donald Trump recently called NEPA studies, “nonsense’, and is proposing to weaken NEPA protections. These two articles provide a good snapshot of the challenges NEPA faces:
NEPA is not ‘nonsense’. NEPA studies have led to better government decision-making that has protected our environment, prevented the Federal government from spending money on ill-conceived projects, and improved the health and safety of virtually every American citizen.
While NEPA does not guarantee that agencies make the right choices, NEPA processes give them the information to make better decisions – and sometimes to avoid disaster.
Among the many NEPA success stories are the protection of radioactive wastes at Los Alamos National Laboratory from vulnerability to fire that could have spread radioactivity for hundreds of miles when a recent forest fire overran the lab, and the abandonment of a misguided plan to dredge a pristine lagoon – an action that would have cost over $100 million and damaged the lagoon it was intended to protect.
To learn more about the amazing success of the NEPA process, check out these stories.