Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NEPA Task Force Issues Draft Findings and Recommendations

Washington, DC – Today, after completing seven months of public hearings around the United States, the House Task Force on Updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) issued its draft findings and recommendations on improving the Act. The findings and recommendations are open to public comment for 45 days. Following the comment period, the Task Force will prepare a final report early next year.

“This draft report is the product of the Task Force’s extensive work during seven months of public hearings and having considered thousands of public comments,” said Task Force Chairwoman Cathy McMorris (R-WA). “The 45-day public comment period reflects the character of this Task Force and of NEPA itself. I look forward to receiving additional input from the public once again.”

The draft report is a collection of findings and recommendations for improving and updating NEPA, taken directly from official public testimony and written input over the months. The Task Force will accept additional public comments until February 3, 2006, only if they are specific to the recommendations or findings of the report. For additional information on how to comment please see page 2 of the Task Force report.

“The Task Force heard diverse opinions on whether or how to improve NEPA,” continued McMorris. “I am committed to providing practical recommendations that take these views into account and improve NEPA.”

This initial report sets out 22 recommendations based on the testimony and comments. The draft recommendations are grouped to address the major issues presented to the Task Force. All the draft recommendations are categorized under the following groups:

Group 1 – Addressing delays in the process
Group 2 – Enhancing public participation
Group 3 – Better involvement for state, local and Tribal stakeholders
Group 4 – Addressing litigation issues
Group 5 – Clarifying alternative analysis under NEPA
Group 6 – Better federal agency coordination
Group 7 – Additional authority for the Council on Environmental Quality
Group 8 – Clarifying the meaning of “cumulative impacts”
Group 9 – Studies

NEPA Task Force Report

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