Forest Services Proposes Weakening NEPA Regulations to Expand Project Exemptions from Environmental Review

The United States Forest Service (USFS) proposed amending its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations to change the way in which the agency evaluates the environmental effects of proposed actions on national forests. Among other changes, the proposed amendments would weaken the regulations by expanding the types of projects that qualify for “categorical exclusion”—a status which allows certain classes of projects to proceed without an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement because they have been determined to not individually or cumulatively have a significant impact on the environment. The amended regulations could facilitate the approval of projects for increased timber harvests, road construction, and mineral development in the national forests without adequate environmental review. Such projects stand to contribute to climate change by increasing the production of greenhouse gases by changing practices of afforestation and deforestation in the national forests.

The USFS released the proposed rule on June 13, 2019. The comment period has been extended until August 26, 2019.

« Climate Deregulation Tracker home