Friday, June 1, 2018

Tell the White House Council on Environmental Quality: Defend NEPA

The petition to Ted Boling, associate director for the National Environmental Policy Act, White House Council for Environmental Quality, reads:
"Preserve the National Environmental Policy Act. Do not adopt any regulatory changes that restrict public participation, prevent agencies from objecting to plans or proposing alternatives, limit the role of the EPA to protect air quality, or otherwise weaken NEPA."
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Trump has been systematically eliminating environmental protections since he got to the White House. Now he's going after the “Magna Carta of environmental law."1
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the original law requiring the federal government to minimize its effects on the environment. It is extremely effective and it paved the way for many of the environmental policies we have today – so it's no wonder that Trump wants NEPA gone.
Trump can't repeal laws on his own, but he has directed the White House Council on Environmental Policy to consider changes to NEPA regulations.2 We must let them know that any change that weakens NEPA is unacceptable – and we will resist loudly and often.
Nearly 50 years ago, NEPA established the first national legal framework for protecting our environment. Under NEPA, federal agencies must consider the environmental impact of planned projects and take public input into consideration. By requiring agencies to consider less-destructive alternatives to initial project proposals, NEPA has saved billions of dollars and avoided countless environmental disasters.3
In the 1990s, Michigan's state transportation department wanted to build a four-lane highway across important wetlands. Using NEPA, concerned residents forced it to consider alternatives. The state ended up expanding an existing highway instead, saving 1.5 billion and protecting the wetlands.4
Trump wants to limit the agencies' ability to recommend less-harmful alternatives.5 He wants to limit the EPA's ability to object to projects because of the air pollution they would cause.6 He's setting the stage to get rid of NEPA all together – a dream of big polluters and the far-right Heritage Foundation.7
Republicans like to claim that NEPA makes government projects inefficient, but multiple expert studies show that NEPA is rarely the cause of project delays.In fact, more than 95 percent of projects subject to NEPA go through a short review process of a few days to months.9Less than one percent of NEPA projects ever end up requiring environmental impact statements.10
In reality, the Republican attack on NEPA is "part of a broad deregulatory agenda that prioritizes business interests over public benefits from environmental protection."11 They are more than happy to sell out nearly 50 years of environmental progress to make more money for their industry friends. To stop them, we make it too politically costly to destroy NEPA. We must stand up to defend our right to speak up about the decisions that affect our communities and environment.
Tell the White House Council on Environmental Quality: Preserve NEPA. Click the link below to sign the petition:

-Brandy Doyle, CREDO Action
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  1. Janet McCabe and Cynthia Giles, "Trump proposal to weaken project reviews threatens the “Magna Carta of environmental law,” The Conversation, May 16, 2018.
  2. Nick Sobczyk, "Industry wants "more oomph" in planned NEPA overhaul," E&E News, May 21, 2018.
  3. Macabre and Giles, "Trump proposal to weaken project reviews threatens the “Magna Carta of environmental law."
  4. Ibid.
  5. Timothy Cama, "Trump aims to speed environmental reviews in infrastructure plan," The Hill, Feb. 12, 2018.
  6. Ibid.
  7. McCabe and Giles, “Trump proposal to weaken project reviews threatens the “Magna Carta of environmental law."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.

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