India Creates NEPA to Enhance Authority
President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as part of his first state visit, jointly launched a new U.S.-India Green Partnership aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two nations on a wide range of environment and climate initiatives, according to a Nov. 25 press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Among these initiatives is the creation of an Indian National Environmental Protection Authority (NEPA), intended to enhance the authority of Indian environmental agencies, improve public information and transparency, demonstrate progress in environmental compliance and enforcement, and ultimately result in improved environmental quality for all Indian citizens.
“We are encouraged by our visitors from the current Ministry of Environment and Forests and reports from our EPA experts on the ground,” said Michelle DePass, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of International Affairs. “We are excited by the Indian government’s initiative and efforts to enhance their capacity to address domestic environmental challenges, and we look forward to collaborating with the new Indian National Environmental Protection Authority when addressing shared global environmental challenges.”
EPA and India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) have been exploring options for restructuring and expanding India’s environmental authorities to improve compliance and enforcement and increase cooperation with Indian states and municipalities.
The development of the Indian NEPA includes the establishment of a civil judiciary authority, the creation of a National Green Tribunal and more general improvements in India’s environmental data collection and analysis.