In January 2007, legislation reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) was signed into law. One provision of the Act directed the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to revise and update its environmental review procedures for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
By requiring a thorough environmental review with public participation, NEPA ensures that public officials make informed policy decisions about our oceans. NEPA environmental reviews have made it possible to protect thousands of square miles of coral formations, reduce mortality of endangered sea turtles and begin the rebuilding of depleted fish populations.
On May 14, 2008, NMFS proposed a new environmental review process for MSA activities that is full of loopholes and exclusions that would significantly limit the scope of the environmental review and the public's right to participate.
The attached fact sheet from the Federal Fisheries Policy at the Pew Environment Group outlines our main concerns with the proposed NEPA rulemaking.