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For Immediate Release:
November 3, 2005

NEPA Task Force To Scrutinize Lawsuit Trend
Katrina, grazing act as case studies

Washington, DC - The Task Force on Updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will hold a hearing on NEPA Litigation: The Causes, Effects and Solutions Thursday, Nov. 10 at 10:00 a.m. in 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

"Lengthy litigation has become a standard delay and obstruction tactic in the NEPA process, as we learned from witnesses throughout the past six months," said Task Force Chairwoman Cathy McMorris (R-WA). "Agencies and communities not only face a complicated process and tough decisions, but sometimes they are met with endless litigation and troubling consequences when considering certain projects. The Task Force will evaluate the use of litigation, its impact on the NEPA process and the way it can redefine NEPA requirements."

In the course of conducting five field hearings, the Task Force members heard that litigation was the primary cause for delays as well as the best method for enforcing NEPA. It was also clear that certain groups and individuals opposed to a project will litigate, using NEPA claims, to stall or stop a project entirely.

The Task Force hearing will study the causes and effects of litigation through two case studies. The first case study will focus on the 1977 lawsuit filed in New Orleans against construction of flood barriers. The second study will examine the numerous lawsuits across the West filed over the issuance of grazing permits on public lands.







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