From American Lands Alliance:

The Senate is currently debating the economic stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1), that recently passed the House. Senators are offering amendments to make changes to the bill. We are very concerned about an amendment offered by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) that waives the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for projects funded by the economic stimulus bill. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has filed an amendment to counter Sen. Barrasso’s NEPA waiver amendment.

You can read more here:  American Lands Alliance – Calls to Senate Needed Tonight!.

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign‘s Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

14 Responses to Republican Senator Wants to limit NEPA Review.

  1. avatar kt says:

    Go Boxer! Barasso’s amendment sounds like a continuation of the environmental disasters of the Bush admin.
    Like the Border Wall. Where Chertoff got to exempt sections of the Wall from environmental challenges.

    Why do the Republicans hate the environment so very much? Where, I wonder, is that quasi-Republican – Harry Reid – on this all?

  2. avatar Chuck Parker says:

    This is incredibly important–NEPA doesn’t just give you an opportunity to voice your opinion on environmental issues, you need the NEPA process of Environmental Impact Statements, etc., so you can one day stand in front of a judge in court and say, sorry to take up your time, but I’ve tried to work within the system, I’ve appealed to the Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and they refuse to follow the law. I’ve done everything I could, I’ve gone through the NEPA process, and the agency(s) refuse to comply with the law. Your step by step participation in the NEPA process gives you “standing” in court. If you haven’t been part of the process, if you haven’t tried to work within the system, if you just jump up and the last minute and say, “I object to Wyoming’s Wolf Plan,” you’re in deep do-do.

    Get rid of NEPA, and it’s far more difficult do document what the agencies have done or not done. All you can do is go in front of a judge and whine. The NEPA process gives you the facts to you need make your case. That’s why politicians want to get rid of NEPA.

  3. avatar Salle says:

    There was also this article:

    http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20090204/NEWS01/902040315/1002/news01

    Lawmaker wants to give counties right to log timber on Forest Service land, this in Montana.

  4. avatar JimT says:

    NEPA has saved more land, more species than any other bill in the history of environmental litigation. Period. The anti-enviro crowd has been after this act forever…We need to nip this crap in the bud.

    I am constantly amazed at the opportunistic craven antics of the western Republicans. Using the worst economic crisis in nearly 70 years as a bootstrap to accomplish this kind of slimy legislative effort. I suspect he needs targeting by the DNC, frankly. The man is truly a waste of perfectly good flesh.

  5. avatar kt says:

    I tried calling Boxer’s office – but it is of course after hours, and so I got shunted to a message Box – which was full. Since calling Risch and Crapo on this is more than laughable. Maybe the box being full is a good sign … But I very much fear what may happen in the wee hours of the night.

  6. This is a continuation of the precedent set by section 102 of the Real ID Act, which allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any law that he or she sees fit to build the border wall. When Secretary Chertoff waived 36 federal laws last April, NEPA was at the head of the list.

    Barasso has realize the obvious — if our nation’s laws can be brushed aside for one emergency, they can be brushed aside for any emergency that comes down the pike. Today it is the stimulus that overrides NEPA. Soon it may be the energy crisis that sweeps aside legal protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Section 102 of the Real ID Act must be repealed if our environmental laws are to have any meaning.

  7. avatar JimT says:

    Excellent observation, No Border Wall.

  8. avatar kt says:

    So here we had the lawless Bush admin, and the lawless complex financial scamming at every level over multiple admins. – and the Republicans want to “fix” the Economy with a plan to cut taxes and destroy our bedrock environmental laws …

    NEPA makes sure we look before we leap. Waiving NEPA makes sure there is no accountability. The Stimulus Bill (at least the version I saw a few days ago) includes huge transmission corridors, and the equivalent of Healthy Forests Projects too. A bunch of the “Shovel Ready” stuff will involve Veg Killing. thinning, etc. – so we have the spectre of Healthy Forests without ANY NEPA … Worse even than Bush.

    Let’s hope the Big Green groups go to the mat on this one. The local Sierra Club folks in Arizona were staunch opponents of the border wall.

  9. KT,

    I think the forest thinning was removed.

  10. avatar kt says:

    Ralph – If so, that is good news. There was a disappointing Merkley Op-Ed on Huffington Post just the other day about it.

    Where can we go on-line to track what all is actually in the Stimulus Bill at this point?

    I found this just now about the Bill:

    http://redgreenandblue.org/2009/02/05/economic-stimulus-package-proposed-barrasso-amendment-would-exempt-projects-from-nepa/

    It references an Oregon Wild Post on NEPA waiving – which makes me think there may still be thinning and certainly many projects that affect public lands – maybe just under another name. “Shovel Ready” projects cover a LOT of things. By the way, Shovel Ready has a negative connotation to some historians (especially women). The term comes from the response to the Great Depression – where men benefited overwhelmingly.

  11. avatar Elizabeth says:

    I find the removal of the NEPA process appalling. We need to keep this law in place for all places that are pristine and sacred – to remain as such. I am fed up with the federal government coming in and deciding that they no longer want to follow the laws they have been sworn to uphold.
    It frightens me to think that at any time the government could start drilling in our national parks and refuges. The majority of Republicans seem to think that they can drill the entire earth and have no cares or worries about the fate of the areas that they have just desecrated, nor the animals or people who have to live in those areas.
    We need Senator Wellstone back……..
    Kick the Bushites out of office – we need to protect our Mother Earth. If we do not protect our Mother Earth, who will. And when she is all destroyed and decimated, who will be to blame – the rapers and pillagers namely the Republicans following the Bushes – and those who stood by and did nothing.
    Elizabeth Chvilicek

  12. avatar kt says:

    Good News from American Lands on this one!

    http://www.americanlands.org

    “To: All Activists
    From: Randi Spivak, American Lands Alliance
    Date: February 6, 2009

    Barrasso NEPA Waiver Defeated; Boxer Upholds NEPA

    Thank you to everyone who made calls or sent emails last night on short notice. Senator John Barrasso’s (R-WY) amendment that would have essentially waived the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review for projects funded in the economic stimulus bill was defeated last night!

    Instead the Senate passed an amendment introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee that would maintain NEPA for projects funded in the stimulus bill. The Boxer amendment also requires reporting to Congress every 90 days about the NEPA reviews of the projects funded under the stimulus.

    Since the vote was by voice, there is no written record of how individual Senators voted. Please call your Senators and ask them how they voted on each amendment. Thank them if they voted for Boxer’s amendment and if they voted for Barrasso’s amendment, please express disappointment and your concern with waiving NEPA. NEPA is the most important law to ensure that environmental impacts for any project, whether it is a bridge, highway or logging, be considered before moving ahead with projects”.

  13. avatar Virginia says:

    My problem is that Barrasso IS my senator! He is such an idiot – Freudenthal really screwed up when he appointed him. He is an arrogant quack who has no business in the senate. When I write to him, I just get a ridiculous reply stating that “while we don’t agree on this issue” he thanks me for writing to him anyway. And, Enzi isn’t any better.

  14. avatar JimT says:

    Keep writing, Virginia, and encourage your friends to write him, newspapers. He was just on TV about the stimulus package…I feel sorry for you…~S~ But then, hey, my state gave us a few winners at Interior,including Big Hat Ken. I share your pain.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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