Lawsuit challenges NEPA rewrite

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A coalition of environmental groups is challenging the Trump administration rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. The Environmental Defense Fund, along with other organizations, call the rewrite an “attack” on Americans.

Leading the legal challenge, an attorney at the environmental group Earth Justice, says, “They want to make it easier to silence people’s voices and give polluters a free pass to bulldoze through our neighborhoods.

That’s why we’re taking them to court.” NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions before making decisions. The Public Lands Council says, however, the changes make the process more efficient. The updates establish presumptive time limits of two years for environmental impact statements and one year for environmental assessments.

Ranchers who hold federal grazing permits are subject to NEPA reviews for many reasons, including renewal of a term grazing permit, construction of range improvements, or to become eligible for participation in Department of Agriculture conservation programs.