NEPA at 50: An Empirical Analysis of NEPA in the Courts
66 Rocky Mnt. Min. L. Inst. __(2020)
36 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2020 Last revised: 7 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 21, 2020
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.
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