Nepa counterplans 2014

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NEPA Core Michigan 2014

7-Week Juniors HJPV

NEPA Counterplans 2014

This file is divided into four parts, basically. The first part includes materials necessary for a “NEPA good” counterplan. The second part includes materials necessary for a “NEPA bad” counterplan. The third part includes a commissions counterplan that emerged during the research process. The final part includes evidence helpful for defending the competition of any of these strategies.

I don’t really think any of these counterplans are competitive, although there are some okay arguments for the negative. But these arguments should force 2Ns interested in reading this argument and 2As needing to answer this argument to think through the various arguments in favor of and against process counterplans.


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Text: The United States federal government should subject (mandate of the plan) to an Environmental Impact Statement as per the mandate of the National Environmental Policy Act. The United States federal government should (aff) if and only if (mandate of the plan) is found to have no significant environmental impact.

NEPA is key to solve environmental destruction

Dreher 5 - Deputy Executive Director of the Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute. Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Robert, “The Political Assault on the National Environmental Policy Act”, CS

Second, NEPA creates an “action-forcing” mechanism to reduce the environmental damage caused by federal actions “undertaken without adequate consideration of, or knowledge about, their impact on the environment.” 8 The Act directs federal agencies, before proceeding with any “major Federal action,” to prepare a “detailed statement” addressing how such action may affect the environment. The statement, now known as an “environmental impact statement” or “EIS,” must consider and disclose to the public: (1) the environmental impact of the proposed action, (2) any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, (3) alternatives to the proposed action, (4) the relationship between local short-term uses of man’s environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, and (5) any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.9 As this language indicates, the goal of NEPA analysis is to avoid ill-considered agency decisions that sacrifice long-term societal interests for short-term gains or inflict irreversible environmental damage (such as species extinction). In addition to EISs, agencies prepare less-extensive “environmental assessments,” or “EAs,” under NEPA to help them determine whether proposed actions will have significant impacts warranting preparation of an EIS,10 and have adopted rules excluding from analysis categories of minor federal actions that have been found not to have signifcant effects, either individually or cumulatively.11 NEPA gives effect to the common-sense axiom “look before you leap.” The Act does not require federal agencies to choose an environmentally-friendly course over a less environmentally-friendly option. But, as a practical matter, the requirement to prepare an EIS ensures that agency decisions will reflect environmental values. As the Supreme Court has observed: Simply by focusing the agency’s attention on the environmental consequences of a proposed project, NEPA ensures that important effects will not be overlooked or underestimated only to be discovered after resources have been committed or the die otherwise cast. Moreover, the strong precatory language of ... the Act and the requirement that agencies prepare detailed impact statements inevitably bring pressure to bear on agencies to respond to the needs of environmental quality.12 Analysis of alternatives is the “heart” of an EIS.13 Comparing the environmental impacts of an agency plan with the impacts of alternative courses of action defines the relevant issues and provides a clear basis for choosing among options. By considering and, where appropriate, adopting reasonable alternatives that meet agency objectives with less environmental impact, federal agencies can achieve NEPA’s environmental protection goals while implementing their primary missions.

NEPA is cutting protections for the ocean now – direct application of the doctrine to ocean policy is key

PR Newswire ‘8 (7-31-08, “Proposed Rule Alters How the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Applies to Oceans; Would Create a Bad Precedent, Stifle Public Participation,” ProQuest,

Conservationists today urged the Bush administration to withdraw its proposed procedures for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act when managing ocean fish and to craft a new rule that will protect valuable natural resources while allowing for greater public participation in the environmental review process. NEPA, the nation's preeminent conservation law, ensures that public officials make informed decisions about the environmental consequences of their actions by requiring thorough environmental assessments with public participation. This is the same law that helped to protect thousands of square miles of deep sea coral, reduced mortality of endangered sea turtles and began the process of rebuilding depleted fish populations while ensuring robust public participation in federal fisheries management. But the Bush administration's proposal, published on May 14, 2008, is full of loopholes and exclusions that would do little to protect the environment. This NEPA proposal could create a bad precedent affecting the application of NEPA to other aspects of the environment since it provides a roadmap for other federal agencies to modify their NEPA procedures. "This proposal is a cynical attempt to shove the public out of its rightful role in protecting public resources," said Andrea Treece, senior attorney in the Center for Biological Diversity's oceans program. "Fishing affects virtually every ecosystem and species in the sea, from the fish we eat, to whales we thrill to watch, sea turtles we strive to protect and coral reefs that support local economies. Leaving the management of these national treasures to guesswork and backroom deals instead of sound science and public input is simply unacceptable."

Ocean destruction causes extinction

Dingle 11 – Sarah Dingle is a reporter for ABC Radio Current Affairs. (“Ocean heading for mass extinction, scientists warn”, ABC News,, June 21, 2011,)
Scientists are warning of a potential marine massacre with a mass extinction of sea life akin to the death of the dinosaurs. A new report says the seas are battling pollutants, overfishing and warming, and warns that without swift action the fight to save species could be lost. The International Program on the State of the Oceans report brought together coral reef ecologists, toxicologists and fisheries scientists. And when they compared notes, the result was grim. Co-author Professor Ove Hoegh Guldberg, who specialises in reef ecosystems, says scientists found "unprecedented warming". "We're seeing acidification in the ocean and now we're starting to see a drop in oxygen concentration throughout the major part of the ocean," he said. "Now it's impacting directly on sea life, but the other is that it is a potential early step towards conditions which are associated with so-called mass extinction events." Professor Guldberg does not want to be alarmist, but says a growing human population is to blame for many of the changes. He warns the pressure will only increase, with the world's population set to grow by another 3 billion people in the next 30 to 50 years. "As human populations have expanded in coastal areas – and it's really boomed throughout the world – you've had the modification of coastlines by the very fact that by destabilising vegetation you get nutrients and sediments going out in those coastal waters," he said. "That's had a tremendously damaging effect in our neighbourhood. In South-East Asia for example, the entire loss of marine ecosystems that used to be there and used to support people." Dr. Alex Rogers is the scientific director of the International Program on the State of the Oceans and a professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. He says when he got together with his colleagues they realised changes in ocean temperatures were occurring much faster than they had expected. "The changes that people had been predicting would happen in the lifetime of our children, or our children's children, are happening really now before our eyes," he said. Dead zones Professor Guldberg says concerns about marine environments often take a back seat both in public debate and scientific research. "They did a study last year where I counted the number of peer-reviewed papers on climate change on the land versus the sea and there were 20 more papers, 20 times as many papers, associated with problems on land versus the sea," he said. He says the sea provides up to a quarter of the world's protein and is concerned about the proliferation of dead zones if nothing is done. Dead zones are areas where oxygen levels in the water drop to zero, a condition known as anoxia. He says in these conditions only certain species survive. "It won't be fish that we like to eat. There are animals and plants - well in fact I shouldn't say animals but more plants and bacteria, green slime, that will prosper in the anoxic environment," he said. Professor Guldberg says the ocean is the life support system for the planet's atmosphere and if uncontrolled degradation continues, the threat of mass extinction is real and does not just apply to the sea. "If we barrel along as we are right now, there's an increasing risk that we will be entering into one of these mass extinction events," he said. "This is where you essentially get a runaway set of conditions which will be very unsustainable as far as human or any other life that we have on the planet today." "This comes back to the fact that the ocean is central to the climate and conditions across the entire planet." Professor Guldberg says to control the pace of change the world must move to zero emissions within the next 40 years. The report's findings will be presented at the United Nations headquarters in New York this week.

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