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Global Environment

Project Institute

FOR THE HEARING RECORD

SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS

AMENDEMENT TO S. 1792

Senator Symms, thank you for the opportunity to offer comment on your proposed amendment to s. 1792 to extend NEPA requirements to recommendations for the U.S. vote in international financial institutions.

The Global Environment Project Institute, Inc. (GEPI) was formed in December of 1986 to educate the public regarding global environmental issues, primarily overpopulation, natural resource depletion, sustainable economic development, and environmental degradation, and to suggest and direct responsible action by individuals to resolve problems related to those issues.

GEPI emphasizes the connection between global issues and local problems in order to make global concerns relevant to individual's daily lives and to illustrate that the cumulative impact of many individuals taking local action may ameliorate global problems which seriously threaten the quality and survival of life on earth.

GEPI, as the only non-profit organization devoted to global concerns in Idaho, is particularly pleased to be able to commend Idaho's Senator, Steve Symms, for his efforts to improve resource and environmental management in the developing world. Senator Symms' amendment embraces the concept put forth by Prime Minister Bruntland when she suggests that "the need to integrate economic and ecological considerations into development planning will require nothing less than a 'renaissance' in economic decision making."

Multi-lateral development banks (MDBS), funded in part with U.S. ta dollars, have been responsible for tragic environmental and human consequences in the Third World in spite of the fact that the projects approved by MDB's were supposed to increase incomes, provide jobs, and raise the standard of living in poor countries.

GEPI's criticism of MDB practices, however, does not imply that we oppose the purpose for which the banks were established. The developing countries very much need the help of the developed countries. We feel that the United States has a responsibility to create sustainable development projects that will ensure the quality of the human environment worldwide.

P.O. BOX DIL KETCHUM. IDAHO 83340 208-726-4030

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According to the Bruntland Report to the World Commission on Environment and Development, "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs."

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GEPI agrees with the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC)
recommendation and the Symms' amendment that the performance of
the MDBs would be greatly improved if they had to prepare
environmental assessments similar to those required of all federal
agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Knowing that an Environmental Impact Statement would be required
would cause MDB project designers to take the environmental impact
into consideration from the beginning of the process, especially
during design and cost-benefit analysis phases.
GEPI is particularly concerned that some form of sanction be
retained in Senator Symms' amendment requiring that the US not
vote in favor of any MBD-funded project unless the NEPA
requirements are satisfied. Accountability is an extremely
important factor in the success of this proposal.

In general, we are very supportive of the objectives of this amendment and thank Senator Symms for his foresight in recognizing the important role that the United States can play in the long-term economic stability in the developing world. Sustainable growth is dependent upon each nation achieving its full economic potential, while at the same time enhancing the environmental resource base upon which all sound development depends.

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Senator BAUCUS. Thank you, Senator, for that important statement.

Senators Kasten and Sanford have submitted statements which will be included at this point in the record.

(The statements referred to follow:

STATEMENT

U.S. SEN. BOB KASTEN

JUNE 16, 1988

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to

testify about the potential applications of the

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to

international activities. I would like to commend

Senator Symms for raising the issue before this

Committee, and I would like to thank the Committee

for arranging this opportunity to discuss the implications of the NEPA -- particularly for

multilateral development bank lending.

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Through my role on the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, I

have done a lot of work on environmental reform of

the multilateral banks. Over the last five years, the

Foreign Operations Committee has initiated

numerous reforms at these institutions. The chief

goal of our work has been to prevent these

institutions from financing large-scale,

non-sustainable development projects which cause

substantial harm to the environment.

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