From cumbersome to collaborative

  The National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the federal government to assess the environmental impacts of its actions, has become synonymous with contentious public hearings and cumbersome environmental impact statements. But it shouldn't be, argues Daniel Kemmis, director of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Missoula, Mont. "(NEPA) represents a national recognition of the importance of protecting the environment ... but part of the problem with NEPA is that it has been applied to small slivers of management," Kemmis says. In March 1999, Kemmis and 35 other participants, including conservationists, industry representatives, agency officials and congressional staff, explored ways to make the NEPA process less adversarial and more collaborative. Reclaiming NEPA's Potential is a compilation of the proceedings of the workshop, sponsored by the O'Connor Center and the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources in Laramie, Wyo. Since the workshop, participants have been drafting legislation that would allow experimentation within the NEPA process.

To order a $12 copy of Reclaiming NEPA's Potential: Can Collaborative Processes Improve Environmental Decision Making?, write the O'Connor Center at Milwaukee Station, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812; call 406/243-7700 or e-mail [email protected] - Beth Wohlberg
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