(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Members of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus and the House United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force are urging President Trump to reverse course on the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) final rule that would fundamentally change the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, further endangering communities of color, economically disadvantaged communities and tribal and Indigenous communities, which are already disproportionally affected by harmful impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, structural racism and longstanding exposure to air, water, and land pollution.
Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) joined 18 U.S. Senators led by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and over 90 members of the House led by U.S. Representatives Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) – members of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus and the House United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force – in sending a letter warning the President that CEQ’s proposed NEPA rollback would eliminate core protections afforded to environmental justice communities.
“For more than 50 years, NEPA has served not only as our nation’s preeminent instrument for protection of the environment, but also as a critical tool for civil rights. NEPA and its regulations mandate government agencies to consider the environmental impacts of projects, including any potential costs and consequences for nearby communities, before those projects are executed,” the members wrote. “Subsequently, NEPA has protected Environmental Justice (EJ) communities by ensuring that all adverse impacts of projects are fully examined, and that public input from impacted communities is considered.”
“This administration’s changes to the NEPA regulations will undermine key aspects of the NEPA process and result in the comprehensive dismantling of core protections for EJ communities, with impacts that could potentially last for decades,” the members continued. “NEPA is essential to protect frontline communities and ensure that their environment, health, and quality of life are preserved for generations to come, especially in EJ communities that have been historically excluded from major decisions that affect them.”
The letter can be found here.