NEPA at 50: An Empirical Analysis of NEPA in the Courts

66 Rocky Mnt. Min. L. Inst. __(2020)

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 394

36 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2020 Last revised: 7 Dec 2020

See all articles by John Ruple

John Ruple

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

Heather Tanana

S.J. Quinney College of Law; Center for American Indian Health

Date Written: October 21, 2020

Abstract

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the groundbreaking 1970 statute that requires federal agencies to take a “hard look” at the environmental impacts of their actions, turned 50 this year. In this anniversary year, and with NEPA revision efforts a hot topic in environmental law, we begin by quantifying the burden imposed by NEPA compliance. We then look back on approximately 1,500 court decisions to quantify the rate at which NEPA decisions are challenged, assess how those cases are resolved, and compare NEPA cases to other environmental litigation. We then discuss efforts to “streamline” NEPA and why we believe those efforts are likely to have unintended consequences.

Suggested Citation

Ruple, John and Tanana, Heather, NEPA at 50: An Empirical Analysis of NEPA in the Courts (October 21, 2020). 66 Rocky Mnt. Min. L. Inst. __(2020), University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 394, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3716579

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)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.utah.edu/research/stegner/

Heather Tanana

S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

Center for American Indian Health

615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

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