Has the creation, evolution and growth of the environmental law industry adversely affected federal environmental policy?
Research Idea Scope
NEPA language, and direction, when first created directed project sponsors and federal lead agencies to “summarize” the need for the project. Today, 50+ years later, the focus on need for action in NEPA has evolved into an analytical action to defend the action; without it is grounds for action termination. Sponsor and lead agency dependency on case law has perhaps harmed NEPA more than helped. This can be seen in many areas of NEPA – public outreach, impact analytics, process objectivity. The research would focus on plaintiff and defendant representation as well as the court’s role in knowledgeable NEPA reactions, rulings, and undertakings.
Urgency and Payoff
The urgency is reflective of the recent and continuous pressures to reduce regulatory policy associated with information generation to inform better decision making. The past two administrations have taken actions suggestive of a deregulatory nature at a time when one might suggest environmental oversight is needed more than ever. Actions that contribute to an adverse opinion about such policy should be investigated and reported on as deemed appropriate.