PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - August 3, 2020 


Negotiations to resume today on a COVID-19 relief package; advocates brace for surge in homeless Americans.


2020Talks - August 3, 2020 


Concerns about U.S. Postal Service delays and voter intimidation from voting rights advocates. Plus, Joe Biden calls for emergency housing legislation.

Conservationists: Proposed NEPA Changes Threaten PA Forests

A NEPA review helped stop a recent proposal for mountain biking in the Allegheny National Forest. (Zack Frank/Adobe Stock)
A NEPA review helped stop a recent proposal for mountain biking in the Allegheny National Forest. (Zack Frank/Adobe Stock)
March 26, 2020

WARREN, Pa. -- Conservation groups say proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, would let potentially damaging projects avoid rigorous review and public input.

For more than 50 years, NEPA has been the federal process that helps protect water, air and wilderness areas from environmental damage.

But according to Kirk Johnson, executive director of the group Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, the proposed changes would make NEPA an environmental review process in name only.

"Really all that it would be doing would be rubber stamping, in effect, industry proposals for development on federal public lands," he points out.

The federal Council on Environmental Quality says the changes would make reviews by federal agencies more efficient, effective and timely.

But Johnson says the proposal would erect barriers to public participation and judicial review, while allowing the bare minimum level of environmental review -- or no review at all.

"There are provisions that would hand over control to extractive and other industries, and in essence, ensure that no matter what, everything always leads to approval of industry proposals," he states.

Johnson adds that environmental and conservation groups across the country submitted comments in opposition to the proposed changes.

He points out that NEPA was instrumental in stopping a recent mountain biking proposal for Pennsylvania's largest inventoried roadless area, the proposed Tracy Ridge Wilderness area in the Allegheny National Forest.

"Any time an agency puts forward a bad proposal that's going to harm wilderness or potential wilderness, we need to be able to rely on a NEPA law that has teeth," Johnson stresses.

He says Friends of Allegheny Wilderness is working with environmental law experts on next steps if the NEPA changes are put into effect.

Disclosure: Friends of Allegheny Wilderness contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA