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House Introduces Resolution Opposing Rollbacks to National Environmental Policy Act

Washington, February 11, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) led the introduction of a resolution opposing changes proposed by the Trump Administration to make significant rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The resolution is co-sponsored by House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Congressman A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO).

“The Administration continues its onslaught of environmental laws that have cleaned up our waters, our air, and our soil. This is one more attack,” said lead sponsor Dingell. “Communities have the right to have their voices heard on the environment, public health, and endangered species. The health and safety of many communities depend on their ability to speak up and make their voices heard. NEPA has received bipartisan, widespread support for more than 50 years. Our resolution sends a clear message that the Administration must abide by the law and ensure all communities have a voice in the decisions that affect them.”

“The Trump administration has spent the past three years finding new ways to tear up, misinterpret, ignore and destroy our public health and environmental laws to keep polluters happy. The National Environmental Policy Act is one of the most important tools Americans have to prevent climate change and weigh in on government decisions that affect their lives, which is exactly what this administration and its industry boosters don’t want. Trump’s NEPA rewrite, like the rest of his environmental agenda, is unpopular and should be struck down to maintain our nation’s public health and environmental standards,” said Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva.

“When tackling new and critical infrastructure projects across the country, we need to consider the impacts to our environment and account for climate change. Rolling back basic NEPA requirements is bad for public health and our environment, and will end up costing taxpayers more when projects aren’t built to be resilient,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio. “The resolution we’re introducing today is just a first step in our efforts to protect communities across the country and stop the Trump Administration’s continued attacks on our environment.”

“The Trump administration’s proposed rule revisions to NEPA, one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, will silence the voices of the communities living on the frontlines of our climate crisis in favor of polluting corporations. Our climate reality demands that we work together and ensure that all communities have their voices heard in the decisions impacting their overall well-being. Our resolution makes it clear that we will never stop fighting to protect NEPA and the critical role it plays in protecting our planet for all of our communities and future generations,” said McEachin.

“The Trump administration is trying to gut one of our nation’s most effective environmental rules, and allow our federal agencies to ignore any impact their projects may have on climate change going forward. This is one of the most dangerous anti-environmental proposals that this administration has put forth yet and, if allowed to go forward, will set us back years in our fight to combat the climate crisis,” said DeGette.

Since 1970, NEPA has been bedrock conservation law that requires federal agencies to consider potential environmental impacts of projects they undertake or permit. The law is critical to environmental justice and gives all Americans a voice in matters where the federal government could allow pollution of communities’ air, water or land.

In January, the Trump Administration announced a rollback of NEPA that would limit the scope of environmental analysis, give citizens and communities less input, and diminish the role of climate change in assessments.

Tuesday, the lawmakers introduced a resolution opposing the weakening of NEPA and highlighting the success of the program that has resulted in improved, more democratic government decision making on major construction projects.

The full text of the resolution is available here.

“Americans across the political spectrum are opposed to President Trump’s proposed changes to undermine the National Environmental Policy Act. It is critical that we stand up to this attempt to strip the American public of their right to have a say on pipelines and other dirty fossil fuel projects built in their own backyards. I applaud Rep. Dingell’s leadership on this resolution to protect the voices of communities across the country from corporate polluters that focus only on their bottom line,” said Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment at the Center for American Progress and former Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

“The Trump administration wants to take us back to the time when polluters could bulldoze homes and destroy communities at will,” said Stephen Schima, senior legislative counsel at Earthjustice. “People all over the country are speaking out against this administration’s dangerous plan to dismantle the National Environmental Policy Act. We thank Representative Dingell and her colleagues for working together with the movement to protect the Act and telling this administration that it cannot rob the people of our environmental voice.”

Monday, Center for American Progress and Hart Research released the findings from a new survey which found proposed changes to NEPA are extremely unpopular with Americans across the political spectrum.

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