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The Overlooked Role of the National Environmental Policy Act in Protecting the Western Environment: NEPA in the Ninth Circuit

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dc.contributor.author Blumm, Michael C
dc.contributor.author Mosman, Keith
dc.date.accessioned 2013-01-11T15:32:59Z
dc.date.available 2013-01-11T15:32:59Z
dc.date.issued 2012-12
dc.identifier.citation 2 Wash. J. Env. Law & Pol'y 193 (2012) en_US
dc.identifier.issn 2160-4169
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1773.1/1190
dc.description Volume 2, Issue 2, Dec. 2012 en_US
dc.description.abstract Michael C. Blumm, Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar & Professor of Law, Lewis and Clark Law School. Keith Mosman, J.D. 2012, Lewis and Clark Law School. Abstract: Critics widely disparage the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for being a mere “paper tiger” or bureaucratic red-tape. The U.S. Supreme Court has surely encouraged this perception by treating the statute with consistent hostility, reducing it to a requirement only to follow prescribed administrative procedures but not produce any environmental results. But in the Ninth Circuit, NEPA lives a more important life, since that court has not forgotten NEPA’s essential environmental purpose. This article examines four lines of cases in the Ninth Circuit that may show that NEPA’s future might reflect its conservation purpose. These cases 1) deny NEPA plaintiffs with purely economic motives standing, 2) exempt from NEPA analysis designations of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act because they have no physical effect on the environment, 3) reduce the threshold for when NEPA requires preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) by requiring environmental plaintiffs to raise only “substantial questions” about whether the agency proposal may produce significant environmental effects, and 4) accept a relaxed scope of alternatives in EISs on agency proposals that have a conservation purpose. We maintain that if other circuits adopted these four Ninth Circuit rules, NEPA would achieve the environmental protection that Congress envisioned from the statute four decades ago. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Seattle, WA: University of Washington School of Law en_US
dc.subject Article en_US
dc.title The Overlooked Role of the National Environmental Policy Act in Protecting the Western Environment: NEPA in the Ninth Circuit en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.rights.holder Copyright 2012 by Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. en_US

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