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Task Force on Improving
National Environmental Policy Act Created

Pombo taps Rep. Cathy McMorris to lead
4/6/05

Washington, DC - Today House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) announced the formation of a Task Force on Improving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-WA) is leading the Task Force which will travel around the country to hold meetings on the current state of the environmental law.

"It is the official responsibility of the Resources Committee to conduct oversight operations on the nation's environmental laws," said Chairman Pombo. "As Chairwoman of this Task Force, Cathy McMorris will undertake the first serious effort to analyze the implementation of NEPA in 35 years on behalf of the committee."

NEPA was signed into law in 1970 and has never been thoroughly reviewed by any Congressional body. The Task Force will travel the country to hear from the people who deal with NEPA on a day-to-day basis to determine whether the original intent of NEPA is being fulfilled.

"It's a real honor to chair this Task Force and I thank Chairman Pombo for this important appointment," said Chairwoman Cathy McMorris. "The NEPA process has a dramatic impact on our economic growth, transportation system, and the resource based economy of the Pacific Northwest. Through this Task Force we will listen to all input on how this law is working to ensure the best outcomes for both the environment and our economy."

"Our ultimate goal is to improve our environmental laws. We need to ensure we protect our environment and assure clean water and clean air in an expeditious manner," said Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV). "Too often NEPA results in litigation that can last decades. This Task Force will simply go out to the communities around the country affected by NEPA to see how well it is working and what improvements may be needed to meet our nation's goals of protecting the environment in the 21st Century."

"Communities, habitats and species throughout the country are impacted by NEPA and, as lawmakers, we have a responsibility to ensure that its purpose and intent are being met," said Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR). "Like any major policy put in place decades ago, it is time to examine this 35-year-old law and find ways in which we can improve its efficacy and efficiency. I look forward to working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to accomplish this goal."

"As our technology improves, so does our ability to interact with the environment in a responsible and safe way. My goal is to ensure that NEPA is a participant in that process and not a hindrance," said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the Resources Subcommittee on National Parks.

"No one will dispute that the intent of NEPA is noble and has successfully protected acre upon acre of precious land from intrusion and destruction," said Rep. Thelma Drake (R-VA). "However, it's important that we revisit NEPA to ensure that it is still as effective today as it was 35 years ago when it first passed. NEPA must be understood in the context of today's national security realities. And as a Task Force, we must do what we can to keep NEPA from tying up our courts and our economy while still protecting our natural resources."

"I welcome the opportunity to work with the Congresswoman from Washington and my other colleagues on this issue," said Congressman Henry Brown (R-SC). "Because of South Carolina's unique transportation needs and the considerable time spent in addressing environmental concerns associated with such projects, we definitely should be considering some reform."

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