June 05, 2020
STATEMENT BY HOWARD A. LEARNER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CENTER
“President Trump has used the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrations on racial injustice to issue an improper Executive Order that weakens the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), our nation’s cornerstone environmental law.
“NEPA is based on the commonsense principles that agency decisionmakers on proposed federally funded or permitted projects should fully and fairly consider reasonable alternatives that produce less harmful environmental impacts. NEPA also provides clear pathways for public participation that improves decision making processes for our communities.
“President Trump’s Executive Order pressures agencies to identify projects to push forward and, for those projects, it short-circuits NEPA’s required consideration of alternatives and meaningful public participation.
“Weakening NEPA under the guise of COVID-19 crisis relief will sadly result in more public health harms and adverse environmental impacts that affect us all. Weakening NEPA’s public participation requirements is an attempt to stifle and further ignore the public while people are demonstrating for change. The Courts and Congress should not allow President Trump’s misguided weakening of NEPA to stand.”