The Trump administration just finalized harmful changes to how federal agencies implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of the nation's most important environmental laws. This also follows an Executive Order directing federal agencies to bypass many bedrock environmental laws in order to speed up a range of federal projects.
If these changes go into effect, agencies can conduct cursory environmental reviews with limited consideration of impacts and perhaps even entirely skip over environmental consultations and reviews otherwise required by law — a critical check-and-balance that ensures infrastructure and energy projects are designed to limit harm to our lands, waters and communities.
The critical laws being undermined have dramatically improved our air and water. They've reduced exposure to harmful chemicals. They've helped conserve wildlife, fish and other natural resources. And they've given the public a greater voice in government decisions.
Bypassing and watering down environmental laws and public participation is a significant misstep at a time when the health of our natural world needs more protection — not less.
Speak out now and urge the White House to reconsider the changes to NEPA and the Executive Order, which adopt the misguided view that supporting economic growth and protecting the environment is an either/or choice.
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Reconsider Bypassing Safeguards
I urge the White House to reconsider the new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rule, as well as the recent Executive Order directing federal agencies to bypass many bedrock environmental laws in order to speed up a range of federal projects. The ongoing pandemic is no reason to broadly circumvent NEPA, the Endangered Species Act and other bedrock environmental laws on all federal projects with no connection to the health emergency. Environmental laws provide a critical check and balance, requiring federal agencies to look before they leap. The Executive Order would throw that out the window by adopting a misguided view that we must choose to either support economic growth and recovery or protect the environment. At this critical time when our natural world needs greater protection, not less, we should not bypass such important safeguards.