Rouda and Tlaib Condemn Trump Administration’s Decision to Waive Environmental Reviews Required Under Key Statute
Washington, D.C. (June 5, 2020)—Today, Rep. Harley Rouda, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the Vice Chairwoman of the Subcommittee, issued the following statement after news reports indicated President Donald Trump will sign an Executive Order to waive environmental reviews for construction projects and bypass protections in laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA):
“This egregious abuse of power is the Trump Administration’s latest attempt to put profit and Big Oil interests over Americans’ health. As our nation reckons with centuries of injustice, the Trump Administration is seeking to deepen a racial divide clearly illustrated by the coronavirus crisis. We urge this Administration to reverse course and stop gutting critical environmental protections needed to safeguard communities of color and our climate.”
NEPA is the nation’s first major environmental statute. It requires public input and an assessment of environmental impacts for proposed major federal actions. The environmental reviews required by NEPA are especially important to low-income communities, tribal communities, and communities of color, as these are the communities disproportionately affected. Public comment periods required by NEPA reviews are often the only way that members of these communities are able to provide input during the decision-making process.
This is not the first time the Trump Administration has sought to undermine this key environmental law. In January 2020, this Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would lessen community input. On April 3, 2020, the Subcommittee sent a letter to the Council on Environmental Quality to voice concerns on the proposed rulemaking and to request documents to investigate an undue influence from the fossil fuel industry.