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A Defense of the National Environmental Policy Act
[Updated: April 22, 2019] A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress examines the environmental impact statement (EIS) of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Blue Line light rail extension "to demonstrate how [the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)] strengthens infrastructure projects, as well as how federal environmental, civil rights, and historic preservation statutes guide the content of the review."
Kevin DeGood writes an article to introduce the issue brief, first recounting the story of an attack by President Donald Trump on the effect of NEPA for infrastructure developments. Here's DeGood's defense of NEPA, and the premise for the brief:
Missing from this threadbare caricature of Washington run amok is any recognition that federal environmental review exists as a response to a past littered with projects that were not studied in advance and thereby caused substantial social, environmental, and even economic harms. After all, infrastructure facilities are not an unalloyed good: They bring both benefits and burdens. A highway or rail line that connects people to opportunity may also tear up neighborhoods; degrade wetlands and rivers; destroy wildlife habitat; and generate air pollution, disruptive noise, and damaging vibrations, among other impacts.