NEPA Basics

Environmental Training Resource
July 10, 2013 — 1,181 views  
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NEPA stands for National Environment Policy Act. The Act was signed into law when Richard Nixon was president, on the 1st of January, 1970. NEPA’s vision is to ensure a symbiotic relationship between man and nature.

The Issues the Act Tries to Address

The Act in place tries to adhere to the welfare of Americans by addressing major concerns regarding socio economic needs for the present generation as well as the future generations.

A Vision of Harmony with Nature

NEPA also strives to maintain the country’s natural environment. Rising concerns about depleting landscape and forests are addressed by the Act. While social and economic welfare of the people is a must, it is possible for people to progress in harmony with their natural surroundings.

Criticism of NEPA

Unfortunately, NEPA has faced a lot of criticism over the years. Though some people call it the magna carta of environmental policy in the United States, quite a few people are unhappy with the political stand the organization seems to take. Several negative comments on the Act are said to have come from executive branch officials, members of the government, and congressmen. Now there are rumors that the negative comments are becoming severe.

Businesses against NEPA

The Act enforces companies and federal agencies to disclose to the public any degradation that they are causing to the environment. Such environmental impact statements have caused negativity toward business houses. Publicly stating that a company is harming its natural environment causes businesses to lose the goodwill of the people.

All Criticism Based in Fact?

Announcing environmental degradation creates a spiral of losses, for which they are unhappy with NEPA. While some of their reasons are based on certain facts, many people are against NEPA for no rational cause. They fail to understand that the Act does not function efficiently if there is no repercussion to harming the environment.

False or Mistaken Criticisms

Many argue that NEPA does not inform decision making agencies. The decisions are made very early, and whatever is agreed upon is always communicated to the decision making agency. While all this is not fully true, it causes certain discrepancies in the implementation process the Act follows. Conduction of processes under it should be guided in a way that it is integrated to other processes that are involved in the same.

Is NEPA a Burden?

Some people complain that the National Environment Policy Act is cumbersome and takes up a lot of time. This is also not fully true. The Act has provisions and delays, but these are exceptions when compared to thousands of processes it carries out efficiently and in time.

Wasteful Litigation

Some critics have gone to the extent to claiming that the Act creates wasteful litigation. Unfortunately, they miss the fact that an independent judiciary continues to monitor and check whether NEPA is enforced properly or not. On top of this, the Act does not really generate as much litigation as this criticism seems to suggest.

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