Happy Birthday, NEPA!

NEPA turns 50 today. Its passage was the beginning of modern environmental law.

Welcome to 2020.  Before we start worrying about the year ahead, it’s worth taking a look backward.  Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, usually called NEPA for short. When he signed NEPA into law, President Nixon said: “It is particularly fitting that my first official act in …


New CEQ Guidance on NEPA & Mitigation

The CEQ has issued new guidance to agencies regarding the use of mitigation.  An environmental impact statement is required when a project has a significant environmental impact. Agencies frequently avoid the need for a full-scale environmental impact statement with plans to mitigate the impacts below the threshold of significance.  NEPA aficionados call this a “mitigated …


NEPA and terrorism

To what extent does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have to consider the threat of terrorist attack in the environmental analysis it undertakes for nuclear power plant licensing decisions?  A March 31 decision from the Third Circuit, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, creates a circuit split on that question. In the …


Which oysters for the Chesapeake Bay?

Sunday’s Washington Post reports that a decision is expected soon on whether to deliberately introduce the Suminoe oyster, native to China and Japan, to the Chesapeake Bay. A decision would mark the end of an analytic process that has been going on for more than 10 years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a …


Can NEPA save the world?

New Scientist‘s blog, Short Sharp Science, reports that repairs on the proton-smashing Large Hadron Collider at Europe’s CERN may be complete by September. What’s the environmental law connection? You might recall that before the LHC was briefly fired up in September 2008 (it only worked for 9 days before crashing), a lawsuit was filed in …