July 15, 2020

Chairs DeFazio, Napolitano Condemn Trump Administration for Weakening Environmental Review Process That Has Protected Public Health and Ensured Public Participation Since 1970

Washington, DC – Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) today condemned the Trump administration for finalizing a rule to gut the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). For more than 50 years, the NEPA process has been vital to public health and ensuring public participation in major environmental decisions.

“Today, thanks to President Trump, corporate polluters are celebrating another win that comes at the expense of the environment and the American people,” said Chair DeFazio, who urged the administration in March to withdraw the proposal. “By finalizing this rule, the Trump administration is not only trying to distract from what actually causes delays in permitting infrastructure—a lack of funding—but is also abandoning decades of transparency in Federal decision making and instead pushing critical decisions into the shadows, where the president’s wealthy and well-connected cronies have a better shot at exploiting our lands for their own gain. The NEPA process is critical to accounting for the impacts of climate change when considering federally funded infrastructure projects. Ignoring those impacts is a mistake will result in limited taxpayer dollars being spent on projects that cannot withstand future storms and other impacts of climate change.”

“The Trump administration again is destroying bedrock protections for local residents and the environment in favor of special interest oil pipelines and mega-projects,” Chair Napolitano said. “This final rule will limit the public input and people’s rights to express concerns over construction in their neighborhoods. This will lead to further pollution and health hazards, especially in the low-income and disadvantaged communities that I represent that have already been subject to historic environmental injustices.”