Tucson, Ariz. (July 17, 2020)—Analysis by Archaeology Southwest of past implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in relation to the Trump administration’s proposed new rules finds that the executive branch of the federal government has failed to honor Congress’s clear invitation, in NEPA, to:
- Consider the impacts of proposed actions on both biophysical and sociocultural aspects of the environment;
- Deploy the latest and best Internet, communications, remote sensing, and mapping technologies, especially via citizen science and analysis of public comments;
- Prioritize impact avoidance and, when this proves impractical, creative, off-site, and compensatory mitigation;
- Mobilize best practices by providing superb training, technical guidance, and incremental updates to NEPA regulations as part of a federal government “culture of commitment” to enacting Congress’s unambiguous intentions, in NEPA, to ”prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of [humans].”
In sum, America does not need the “bold new approach” taken in the new rules; we need and deserve a re-commitment to implementing NEPA using the many technical and conceptual advances that science and management have produced since the current regulations were issued four decades ago.
Read more on our position and the comments we submitted to the Council on Environmental Quality here.
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects the places of our past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has fostered meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguarded its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at archaeologysouthwest.org.
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John R. Welch
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