Nepa’ed in the Bud
If you’ve been following environmental news lately (or duly reading the Daily Grist), you’ll have noticed an unusual number of stories involving the National Environmental Policy Act. The act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970, requires all federal agencies to assess and limit the environmental impact of their activities. But the Bush administration says NEPA has created a sea of red tape, and it is seeking sweeping changes to the act. The White House has asked Congress to suspend environmental reviews and limit court challenges to logging projects in fire-prone areas; issued an executive order requiring expedited environmental analyses of important transportation projects; argued in court that NEPA should not apply to activities in most U.S.-controlled waters; and created a task force to modernize the act and accelerate environmental review. Environmentalists see the efforts to change the law as part of a broad attack on the environment by the Bush administration.