National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Challenges from 1997-2012 in the First, Ninth, and Eleventh U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals: Is NEPA Still a National Mandate or Has The Ninth Circuit Created a 'Baby CEQA'?
16 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2014
Date Written: July 30, 2014
Precisely what is the relationship between the developing jurisprudence of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)? What is the societal and environmental value of the current legal structure of these two statutory behemoths both individually and conjuntionally considered? Endeavoring to answer these questions, this study analyzes all published opinions from the First, Ninth, and Eleventh United States Circuit Courts of Appeals during a fifteen year study period (1997 to 2012), where plaintiffs challenged the validity of a federal agency's compliance with NEPA. It concludes that, at a fundamental policy level, these environmental statutes - at least as NEPA has developed in the Ninth Circuit - operate in parallel to, and in costly, time-consuming, and unpredictable relationships with each other, the "command and control" substantive environmental statutes, and additional policy priorities.
Keywords: National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA, California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, environmental law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation