OK, it’s a windmill-tilt if ever there was one, and a mark of my growing frustration, but there it is: I’ve started a petition drive. It’s aimed at President Obama, and it says:
"Please seek amendments to the National Environmental Policy Act, or issue an Executive Order, to require honest, objective impact assessment that respectfully involves and is responsive to the public, and that happens BEFORE decisions are made to promote projects."
Pretty simple, pretty obvious, but something has to be done. Since I published my book about it in 2009 (Our Unprotected Heritage: http://www.lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=219), the situation has if anything gotten worse. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is simply understood to be, and generally accepted as, a whitewash of a project’s environmental impacts, by specialists who view themselves as (and indeed are) members of a project proponent’s planning team. This has two obnoxious effects:
1. It allows environmental impacts of all kinds – notably in my experience those on people, communities, and their cultural values – to be ignored, and
2. It undercuts public support for the conduct of impact assessment; if it’s crooked, what good is it?
The situation is especially odious where “green” projects like wind energy and solar power are involved. Since so many environmentalists have gotten on the bandwagon for such project, there’s almost no one to ride herd on their impacts and try to keep them under control. So agencies like the Bureau of Land Management are cutting corners and signing off on environmental assessments and impact statements whose pro-project biases couldn’t be clearer if they were emblazoned in neon on illuminated billboards, and utterly ignoring those Indian tribes and others who have the guts to object.
Will you sign my petition? Click here to add your name: