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HJM 015: Supporting NEPA Rollbacks – 2020

Summary: HJM 015 declares Idaho legislative support for the Trump administration's rollbacks on the National Environmental Policy Act.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Passed

Issue Areas: Clean Water, Fish and Wildlife, Public Lands, Transportation

Official Legislative Site

Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) introduced House Joint Memorial 15, which celebrates proposed rollbacks to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). Among other things, the memorial talks about how NEPA has halted “meaningful projects” and cost the federal government unnecessary money and paperwork. It also states that NEPA has put roadblocks in front of advancing economic development in a timely manner in Idaho.

President Richard Nixon signed NEPA into law in 1970, giving the public a voice in the management of public lands and resources by requiring federal agencies to disclose the effects of agency actions to human health and the environment. NEPA requires the analysis of long-term cumulative impacts to the environment, making environmental protection for future generations a priority. Just last year, the Idaho Legislature passed a resolution that affirmed their support for a different resolution that asserted that “affected stakeholders benefit from the opportunity to be informed as soon as possible about the extent and potential impact of projects to allow for involvement in decisions…”

Ultimately NEPA is about ensuring public involvement and transparency in federal decision-making.  Projects are improved as a result of public comment and disclosure.

Unfortunately, under the new rules proposed by the Trump administration, analysis of the cumulative impacts will no longer be required. Other elements of the proposal would limit the time for environmental review and analysis. You can learn more about these NEPA changes and how to submit comments here. The comment period ends March 10, 2020.