Feb 25, 2020

USA: Defend Your Voice, Defend NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)!

image courtesy of quinntheislander at pixabay

----- Forwarded message ----
From: Sally Schlichting <sally@seacc.org>
Date: Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 9:00 AM
Subject: Defend Your Voice, Defend NEPA!

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

For 50 years SEACC has worked to keep you informed on threats facing the federal lands and waters of the Tongass. The Trump Administration's Center for Environmental Quality (CEQ) has recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to significantly weaken the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 
NEPA is the policy that gives Alaskans a voice when it comes to providing important public input on projects that could impact people, the planet, and our Alaskan way of life. Take action today by submitting a public comment. Defend NEPA!

CEQ applies NEPA through rules that instruct federal agencies how and when to consider impacts and involve the public. The proposed changes to these rules would mean severe consequences for Alaskans and the management and conservation of critically important places in Alaska, including the Tongass National Forest, the Arctic, and Bristol Bay.
Liz, please raise your voice now to help defend your right to protect these critically important places!
Specifically we are concerned about:
  1. Less Public Participation: Criteria for holding or sponsoring public hearings or meetings where there is substantial interest or environmental controversy have been deleted. In addition, members of the public would be required to reference page numbers, propose specific changes, and support their comments with data and methodologies, placing an undue burden on citizens.
  2. New Time Limits: The proposed rule would set time limits for environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, which means complex projects may not receive sufficient review and input.
  3. No Requirement to Assess Cumulative and Indirect Effects: The proposed rule no longer requires an assessment of the cumulative effects, nor does it distinguish between direct and indirect effects, and does not require a look at impacts that are geographically or temporally distant. This means climate change impacts of a project will not be evaluated nor the toxic impacts from a mine that could effect fish or wildlife in the future.
SEACC is opposed to the proposed changes and is urging CEQ to rethink its approach to updating the rules implementing NEPA. In addition, we are asking CEQ to extend the comment period to 180 days and conduct public hearings in affected regions, like Southeast Alaska. Please join us in defending NEPA by submitting a comment to the Chairman of CEQ Mary B. Neumayr. Comments will be accepted until March 10th 2020. 
Speaking up so you can continue to speak out!
Sally Schlichting, Environmental Policy Analyst

PS: Want to wonk out on the details? Check out my blog that dives even deeper into the specifics and provides additional links.  

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