NEPA Reform: Impacts Outside of the US

Dovetail Partners has published a report suggesting that NEPA ought to be revised to include the environmental impacts of proposed actions beyond the borders of the U.S. The report discusses an example: When timber harvesting declined after the Northwest Forest Plan was implemented, timber production shifted to Canada. As Canada shipped more timber to the US, it shipped less to Asia. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan turned to Russia for timber, where forests are far less productive than in the PNW.

Dovetail’s Jim Bowyer, the author of the report, proposes adding this to NEPA:

“Regarding (i) and (ii) above, any proposed action that would have the effect of significantly reducing or effectively eliminating potential domestic mineral, energy, timber or other critical resource development must be accompanied by a statement regarding likely environmental impacts of the proposed action beyond the geographic area of focus, including outside U.S. borders.”

I suggest that NEPA also should require consideration of impacts with in the US but outside of the region in which the project would be implemented. For example, after the NW Forest Plan, the US Southeast picked up production.

2 thoughts on “NEPA Reform: Impacts Outside of the US”

  1. NEPA is not triggered by actions that protect the environment by not developing resources or limiting their development. They could pass a new law to do this, but it would be contrary to NEPA’s purpose.

  2. I thought this was already required. “Agencies must analyze indirect effects, which are caused by the action, are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable,.… CEQ has determined that agencies must include analysis of reasonably foreseeable transboundary effects of proposed actions in their analysis of proposed actions in the United States.” July 1, 1997 Memo from CEQ Chair Kathleen McGinty to the Heads of Agencies, RE: Transboundary Environmental Impacts.

    Also, this would be a good way to look at the global effects of greenhouse gas emissions.


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