Does NEPA Help or Harm ESA Critical Habitat Designations? An Assessment of Over 600 Critical Habitat Rule

46:3 Ecology L. Q. ___ (2019), Forthcoming

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper

38 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2019

See all articles by John Ruple

John Ruple

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law

Michael Tanana

College of Social Work at the University of Utah and Lyssn.io, LLC

Merrill Williams

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, Students

Date Written: June 5, 2019

Abstract

This paper test whether impact analysis pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act delays federal decision making, and whether the NEPA process results in significant changes to the substance of federal decisions. We reviewed 636 rules designating critical habitat for species that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Because of a circuit court split, some of these rules were subject to NEPA analysis while others were not. In comparing these two groups we found that rules that underwent NEPA analysis were completed more than three months faster than rules that were exempted from NEPA review. We also found that rules that were subject to NEPA review underwent less change in the size of the habitat area between the proposed and final rule than those that were exempted from NEPA.

Keywords: environmental policy, NEPA, Endangered Species Act, critical habitat

Suggested Citation

Ruple, John and Tanana, Michael and Williams, Merrill, Does NEPA Help or Harm ESA Critical Habitat Designations? An Assessment of Over 600 Critical Habitat Rule (June 5, 2019). 46:3 Ecology L. Q. ___ (2019), Forthcoming; University of Utah College of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3399734 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3399734

John Ruple (Contact Author)

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-6545 (Phone)

Michael Tanana

College of Social Work at the University of Utah and Lyssn.io, LLC ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Merrill Williams

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, Students ( email )

332 South 1400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

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