Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tell the Council for Environmental Quality : Safeguard NEPA environmental reviews

For nearly 50 years, the United States has benefited from an empowering legal tool that allows communities to protect themselves and their environment from dangerous, rushed and poorly planned federal projects. Now the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are working to weaken that law and silence local voices.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ensures that we all have a voice when polluter interests want to build a toxic waste incinerator in our neighborhood or a dangerous pipeline next to our children’s school. The plan to gut this vital tool—the nation’s oldest environmental law—is nothing short of a public gag order. NEPA also allows communities to offer local expertise to make good projects safer and more efficient.

The federal government funds and carries out projects in communities across the country. Many of these projects cater to wealthy corporations that seek to profit at the expense of the health and safety of their workers and the people living near the project sites. Many of these projects have an outsized impact on working-class communities and communities of color, who often face disenfranchisement in our political system.

The Trump administration’s decision to start the process of administratively rolling back NEPA environmental reviews is a thinly veiled attempt to rubberstamp permits for corporate polluters. Don’t let that happen—take action today.

- Earth Justice

(Personalize it for more impact.) 

Dear Council on Environmental Quality,

I urge you to protect the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by keeping its implementing regulations strong. Changes to NEPA’s implementing regulations should focus on strengthening the application of the law and investing more in public involvement without undermining the current protections it offers. 

Before contemplating any changes, the CEQ must go through a robust process that relies on public input, requiring numerous public hearings across the country, and must detail its reasons for any proposed changes.

NEPA ensures that our communities have a say in major federal decisions that affect our health and safety. It is often the only way for people to voice their concerns about the consequences that federal projects will have for their communities, and to demonstrate how local expertise can improve them. Our communities are safer and healthier because of a strong NEPA.

NEPA ensures that federal agencies “look before they leap” as they fund and permit major projects that impact so many communities across the country. Weakening NEPA puts our communities at risk and makes government less efficient by undermining a process that often uncovers major problems in project design and builds consensus as these problems are addressed.

An attack on NEPA is an attack on our ability to keep our communities safe and healthy. You have the opportunity to protect us from hasty decision making that would put our communities at great risk. Make sure we have a voice—protect NEPA!

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