The USDA Forest Service recently announced a final rule has been published that will implement important changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The changes to the NEPA regulations include additional tools and flexibilities for addressing land management issues. The changes are part of a broader effort to help better serve the American people. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release that the changes will ensure the appropriate amount of environmental analysis for projects, locations, and conditions.
The changes establish new or revised categorical exclusions intended to eliminate redundancies. Previous environmental analyses can now be used to support new decisions where appropriate. Perdue notes that the changes will improve the ability to maintain and repair infrastructure such as road, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities in national forests. The updated regulations were published last week in the Federal Register and are set to take effect immediately.
Listen to the radio report below.