Task Force Concludes Hearings on NEPA Process

(Washington, D.C.)  The House Task Force on Updating the National Environmental Policy Act held its sixth and final hearing today and heard from federal officials and national representatives on their NEPA experiences. The Task Force will culminate all of the testimony and comments received over the last eight months and present its final recommendations to the House Committee on Resources.

“Today we heard from many experts with combined decades of experience dealing with NEPA procedures,” said Task Force Chairwoman Cathy McMorris (R-WA). “And although I saw a wide variance in opinions, every single witness told me he saw some way NEPA procedures should be improved.”

Witnesses testified about the reasons for delays associated with NEPA litigation and federal agencies trying to implement the law’s procedures. Several witnesses highlighted the time consuming nature lawsuits can bring to the process of approving a project, causing delays of six to ten years.

In other instances witnesses spoke to the nature in which lawsuit were filed, mainly because opponents disagree with the project and want to delay its approval or even attempt to stop the project entirely.

The Task Force will now begin the work of finalizing a draft report to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo. The report will be issued within the next month and will include the comments and testimony received from previous hearings and any recommendations the Task Force may have on improving NEPA.

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