JurisdictionUnited States
National Environmental Policy Act
(Oct 2010)


Rebecca W. Watson
Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C.
Denver, Colorado

REBECCA W. WATSON is a shareholder with the law firm Welborn Sullivan Meck and Tooley, P.C. Ms. Watson has more than 30 years of legal and policy experience in the fields of conventional and renewable energy, natural resources and federal environmental law. As Assistant Secretary of the Interior Department, she had oversight of the Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service and the Office of Surface Mining and led 12,000 employees and managed a $1 billion budget. Prior to her service in the Interior Department, Ms. Watson served as the Assistant General Counsel for Energy Policy at the U. S. Department of Energy in the George H. W. Bush administration. Ms. Watson is a graduate of the University of Denver Law School and has been a partner and counsel in two Washington D.C. law firms and served as Managing Partner for a firm in Helena, Montana. She began the practice of law in Wyoming. Ms. Watson focuses her practice on public land access and development for solar, wind, geothermal, wood biomass and oil and gas with an emphasis on federal environmental law. She represented the first solar project on federal lands, prepared industry comments on the Geothermal Steam Act of 2005, advised wind energy developers on mineral rights and counseled companies permitting natural gas wells and pipelines.

Lessons Learned from "Streamlining NEPA"

Rebecca W. Watson, Partner

Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C.

Healthy Forests Initiative: Expedited NEPA

• Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) to streamline hazardous fuel treatments on federal land

• HFI Tools:

• Healthy Forests Restoration Act - simplified EIS (limits alternatives)

• Model EA - 15 pages or less to assess environmental impacts

• Categorical exclusions (CXs) - fuels treatment; and post -fire restoration CXs

[Page 15A-2]

Applying the Healthy Forests Initiative

• Portneuf Westbench (Idaho)

• Hurricane Katrina

Wind Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

• Wind PEIS amends 52 RMPs for wind development on public lands

• Streamline permitting of wind projects by NEPA tiering

• "Programmatic NEPA analyses and tiering can reduce or eliminate redundant and duplicative analyses and effectively address cumulative effects."

"Modernizing NEPA Implementation: The NEPA Task Force Report to the Council on...

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