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ASLA Submits Comments Opposing NEPA Rule

Recently, ASLA submitted formal comments in opposition to the proposed National EnvironmentalPolicy Act (NEPA) rule. In January 2020, theCouncil on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a notice of proposed rule making that would make substantial cuts to environmental reviews of government projects and limit the public's input in the process–rushing projects regardless of the impact they could have on the environment and communities. These changes would result in the gutting of NEPA, which has protected our environment for 50 years. Immediately following the announcement of this proposed rule, ASLA President Wendy Miller, FASLA announced that “ASLA strongly opposes any attempts by the administration to weaken NEPA. This long-standing environmental law makes certain that when the government has a major project in the works, our air stays clean, our water stays safe, our ecosystems remain intact, and our communities don't suffer. Weakening those protections in the midst of the global climate crisis is completely irresponsible."

On March 10, ASLA submitted official comments opposing CEQ’s proposed rule because it runs counter to the intended mission of NEPA, which is to ensure that the environment and human health and well-being are not significantly impacted by federal activities. Specifically, ASLA opposes this proposed rule because it prevents agencies from considering the devastating impacts of climate change on communities and the environment, limits the scope of federal projects that would be required to comply with NEPA regulations, and severely restricts public participation. Further, ASLA urges CEQ to work with landscape architects, who have a long history and successful track record of planning and designing federal infrastructure projects that also protect the environment and include meaningful community engagement, in recrafting an improved NEPA rule.

Since 1970, NEPA has been our nation’s bedrock tool to ensure clean air, water, and other critical natural resources. For a half a century, NEPA has required federal agencies to make science-based assessments of how a federal project or other actions will impact the environment. As a result, our nation’s infrastructure and economy have developed to meet the growing needs and demands of society, while balancing the protection of our environment. ASLA will continue to work uphold NEPA’s intended purpose of protection our environment.

You can read ASLA’s comments here.

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