6/17/2005

From: alra@governance.net
Subject: U.S. Reps. to Visit Southwest for Environmental Hearing

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400  Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087  Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net 
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE  Washington, DC 20003



      U.S. Reps. to Visit Southwest for Environmental Hearing
     

Please try to attend if you can.




      For Immediate Release
      June 16, 2005
      Contact Matt Streit or Brian Kennedy at (202) 226-9019 

      U.S. Reps. to Visit Southwest for Environmental Hearing

      Local groups to testify on National Environmental Policy Act's effects;
      Also NEPA lawsuit could have dramatic effects on low income, minority housing

      Washington, DC - A bipartisan group of Congressional members asked to take a "hard look" at the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementation is holding a hearing on Saturday, June 18, in Lakeside, AZ. 

Members will hear from witnesses from the transportation, public works, mining, forestry, grazing, and local government fields among others. 

     
WHO: Task Force on Improving the National Environmental Policy Act
      
WHAT: Hearing on The Role of NEPA in the Southwestern States
     
WHEN: Saturday, June 18, at 10:00 a.m.
      
WHERE: Blue Ridge High School located at 1200 W White Mountain
      
Boulevard, Lakeside, AZ 85929

      "The NEPA Task Force is focusing on maximizing positive outcomes for both our environment and our economies," said Task Force Chair Cathy McMorris (R-CA). "The Southwest supports many rural natural resource jobs and has some of the largest population growth rates in the country. I look forward to hearing how the region is balancing protection of the environment with vital transportation, public works, and natural resource projects affected by NEPA."

      NEPA was signed into law in 1970 and required federal actions to comply with environmental laws and take into consideration their potential impacts. Almost 35 years later, what started as a single paragraph statute is now 25 pages of regulations, 1500 court cases and hundreds of pending lawsuits that are blocking important projects and economic growth across the country. 

      "The National Environmental Protection Act was intended to ensure that federal decisions are made in an environmentally sound manner, not to stifle community and regional economic development," said Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ). "We must balance environmental protection and the implementation of NEPA with Arizona's growing economy. Our state can lead the way with the sensible management and development of our natural resources in a way that is sensitive to our environment."

      The Southwest is at the center of rapid population and economic growth which often draws the ire of anti-sprawl and development groups. A critical highway project in Nevada, the widening of U.S. 95, is being held up by the NEPA process despite a decade of planning and extensive NEPA analysis. In Arizona, a desperately needed power line into the southern part of the state has been held up for a number of years due to NEPA.

      Most recently, in a lawsuit against Fort Huachuca, environmental groups have gone as far as suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Authority for not completing a NEPA analysis before issuing each and every mortgage insurance and loan guarantee. The implications of this lawsuit could dramatically affect the ability of low income families and minorities to receive loans and insurance for homes.


You have two weeks to submit written testimony to the House Resources Committee.  

FAX:  (202) 225-5929.  

E-mail:  resources.committee@mail.house.gov

Website:  http://resourcescommittee.house.gov

For more information, contact the House Resources Committee at (202) 225-1761




Please forward to anyone living or working in Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.

 


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