Action Alert! Defend the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)

NEPA allows us to have a voice in how our public lands are managed and provides foundational environmental protection. The Council on Environmental Quality - an office within the White House - is proposing significant changes to its regulations. Take action to protect your voice in how decisions are made on public lands.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 20, 2020
Action Alert! Defend the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)

The current administration recently announced a plan to rewrite the rules for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that would greatly limit public participation and environmental considerations during project proposals and reviews.

NEPA is important to Mountaineers and other outdoor enthusiasts because it is the foundational law that requires the government to review and assess possible impacts of development proposals on public lands. In addition, NEPA protects the public’s voice and right to participate in these decisions that can greatly affect the landscapes and ecosystems where we recreate and the outdoor experience these places provide.

In July, we shared information and an action alert on the U.S. Forest Service’s proposal on changes to how they implement NEPA. Now, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is proposing changes to these regulations and processes. The administration’s proposed changes are intended to speed up development activities, on public lands and waters, and would do so by limiting opportunities for public engagement and environmental review. And these new rules would also essentially exclude impacts of a changing climate entirely from NEPA analyses. These proposed regulations from CEQ would significantly scale back your ability to have a voice in public lands management.

Take Action

More on NEPA and the proposed revisions by CEQ

NEPA requires land managers to evaluate the impact of big changes to public lands – like building pipelines, developing new mines, or enlarging parking lots – and study the potential impacts on air and water quality, recreation access, potential pollution, and more.

One of the biggest ways that we, as the public, are ensured a say on how public lands are managed is through NEPA. For example, this process can help the public stay involved to protect uses such as hiking trails, water ways for kayaking, or the health and sustainability of beloved landscapes.. The proposed regulations would limit your ability to speak up for public lands.

The environmental review process and public make a big difference when it comes to making informed decisions and protecting the places we love. For everyone concerned about changing climate, the administration’s proposal should be troubling because it will exclude climate change as an environmental consideration in development and land management decisions.

So what happens next? The administration is required to accept public comments until March 10, 2020, and it’s valuable for us to generate a big public outcry in support of NEPA’s core values. After the comment period, the administration will review public feedback and draft its final plan so the more they hear from us, the better.

We believe NEPA’s core values should be protected. They allow us to have a voice in how our public lands are managed and provide foundational environmental protections. Please join us in speaking up for this critical protection today!

We’ve made it easy for you to submit a comment directly to CEQ. While we’ve suggested sample language, we encourage you to edit the existing language to make it personal to you. Three points that we believe should be protected in NEPA are:

  • NEPA’s process of public comment that allows us a voice in public land decisions
  • Considerations on effects on climate change from proposed development
  • Importance of NEPA as a tool for allowing balanced and informed approaches to public lands management


Thank you for speaking up on behalf of our public lands and processes that insure thoughtful stewardship of these cherished places.


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Eric Burr
Eric Burr says:
Jan 20, 2020 07:14 AM

In the process of editing and personalizing the suggested e-letter to COQ, I discovered and corrected some spelling and grammatical errors that ideally could be fixed before this goes out to many more members.