The dog-and-pony show aimed at fundamentally weakening U.S. environmental safeguards is about to make its curtain call.

The NEPA Task Force, chaired by Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA) and reporting to the House Resources Committee chaired by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), held its last meeting on Nov. 17 and will issue its report by Nov. 30.

If you have not yet added your voice to the chorus opposing the weakening of this landmark environmental protection law, please send your comments by Nov. 23.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies and federally funded developers to consider the environmental impacts of their proposed actions, look at alternatives, and solicit public comment. Based on this NEPA evaluation, a project– such as a timber sale on a national forest– may be modified to protect environmental values or stopped altogether.

The ability of environmental groups (such as Forests Forever) to influence federal land-use decisions in favor of conservation rests largely on NEPA. McMorris, Pombo and their allies have publicly stated that they intend to make deep changes in this essential environmental law. The conservation community is solidly opposed to this blatant attempt to weaken NEPA.


Send a letter explaining why NEPA is important to you, and how participation in the NEPA process has helped improve decision-making on public lands. Begin your letter:

To: House Resources Committee NEPA Task Force

Please enter these comments into the record for the NEPA Task Force hearing on Nov. 17, 2005. I would like for my comments about the importance of the National Environmental Policy Act to be reflected in your final report.

Points to make in your letter:

• NEPA is the best guarantee that American citizens will get complete information about federal projects that affect them, be presented with a range of alternatives, and ensure that their voices are heard in the government’s decision-making process.

• NEPA helps make certain that the government is working for the people, not against them. It helps to keep the decision-making process open, and gives average citizens a voice to balance the influence of special interests.

• There is no need to improve upon NEPA. It has been working well, has kept unnecessarily harmful projects from being undertaken, and has made many projects better. Limiting public involvement and weakening environmental review will not improve the process.

• NEPA saves time and money by addressing problems before a project is undertaken, building consensus, and providing alternatives.

Your own experience is the best argument. If you can, include specific examples of how public participation in the NEPA process helped protect human health, your community, and the environment, and how the availability of alternatives led to informed decision-making and improved projects.

If you cannot cite specific personal experiences of the value of NEPA, write about environmental values that are important to you, such as clean air and water, abundant wildlife, and healthy rivers and streams.

Send your letter to:


or fax it to 202-225-5929, and send a copy to


Please also send a copy of your letter to your U.S. representative, and to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

Visit http://www.congress.org to get contact information for your members of Congress.

Include your address and phone number at the end of your comments.


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places