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Scott Slesinger’s Blog

We Don't Need NEPA - A Modest Proposal

Scott Slesinger

Posted May 2, 2013 in Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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As the Senate continues the actions of the infrastructure committees to weaken public participation and environmental reviews of federal projects, there is another way communities can protect themselves from the heavy hand of bulldozers and narrowly focused federal bureaucrats. 

In the late 1960’s, before NEPA required public participation and environmental impact reviews, the builders of the Interstate Highway system thought an efficient way to build I-70 was through Fells Point in Baltimore and through the city’s Inner Harbor.

Without having NEPA, a social worker organized the community to force the highway planners to completely re-route the path protecting the future of Baltimore.
--- This pre-NEPA success story shows we don't need NEPA, as long as every community in every state has someone with the political smarts and tenaciousness as that social worker from Baltimore whose everyday political skills were modest but have raised her to Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee – Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

We could do without NEPA, if only we could be assured that every community in America is protected in perpetuity by someone like Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Until that day, we’d better stick with the law and the essential protections it provides.

Sen. Mikulski 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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