Protecting NEPA… Again
We were rallying in 2020, using our collective voice in 2021, and celebrating in April 2022… but here we are again. Senate Republicans are trying to turn back the clock to 2020 and kneecap NEPA forever.
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has sponsored a resolution, cosponsored by every Republican in the Senate, under the Congressional Review Act to undo the Biden Administration’s NEPA rule restoring some of the Trump Administration’s most damaging rollbacks from 2020. If passed, we’d wind back the clock to 2020 and prohibit the current administration or future administrations from restoring our bedrock environmental law.
Take action by using your voice to send your representative a letter TODAY asking them to oppose turning our back on NEPA! Find your representatives using the form below and send your custom letter to take action.
Why is this important?
NEPA is a bedrock environmental and civil rights law that requires federal agencies to make informed and transparent decisions. It requires the government to conduct public outreach and analyze the public health impacts of major federal actions, including public land maagement actions and the permitting of infrastructure projects. It’s also the main safeguard for Indian Country on lands held in trust by the federal government and one of the only ways tribal governments and citizens can address projects on trust land.
What’s the problem with the new resolution?
Reasons we are urging our Senators and Representatives to oppose S.J.Res.55:
- S.J. Res. 55 is based on the demonstrably false allegation that NEPA is a significant source of project delay. This myth has been debunked in numerous studies conducted by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Instead, CRS found that the causes of delay were “more often tied to local/state and project-specific factors, primarily local/state agency priorities, project funding levels, local opposition to a project, project complexity, or late changes in project scope.”
- The destabilizing overhaul of CEQ’s NEPA regulations in 2020 were incompatible with the policies established in Section 101 of NEPA “recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural environment” and the mandate in Section 102 to implement these policies “to the fullest extent possible.” Other egregious changes included allowing industries to prepare their own environmental reviews and redefining the term “major federal action” to reduce the applicability of NEPA to projects like interstate pipelines.
- A robust NEPA process is essential to ensuring the successful implementation of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). For example, as sea levels continue to rise and extreme weather events become more frequent and severe, our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure must be engineered to be more climate resilient. Without a robust NEPA process, however, implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law will fall short because it will not allow for public input or changes following environmental review that help to make critical infrastructure projects climate resilient and responsive to community needs.
- For low-income and minority communities, which are often disproportionately impacted by health problems associated with poorly planned federal projects, NEPA isn’t just an environmental protection statute. It’s a critical tool for civic engagement and social justice we cannot afford to lose.
- This resolution seeks to force CEQ to return to President Trump’s definitions of direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts – definitions that intentionally excluded consideration of climate change impacts. It is absolutely essential for agencies to meaningfully review the impacts of climate change on public lands management and federal infrastructure projects, as well as the environmental justice impacts of federal actions.
Thanks to you previously writing in and sharing your voice, we convinced the current administration to prioritize restoring NEPA on day one of President Biden taking office. We made them listen to us before: let’s do it again.