June 04, 2020

Chairs DeFazio, Napolitano Slam Trump Administration’s Actions to Undermine Bedrock Environmental Laws Under Guise of ‘Economic Emergency’

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 responded to President Trump’s Executive Order to waive critical environmental reviews due to the current economic downturn. The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment has jurisdiction over the water quality and Clean Water Act-related infrastructure programs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 
Given the Trump administration’s absolute disdain for our Nation’s bedrock environmental policies and the role they play in protecting people and communities across this country, it’s unsurprising that the President would waive NEPA, ESA and other environmental reviews under the guise of an ‘economic emergency.’ But while unsurprising, it’s still deeply disturbing,” Chair DeFazio said. “This administration constantly searches for ways to give to industry, at the expense of average Americans, their health, and the environment, and this is just another way of doing so. The laws President Trump seeks to waive are critical to making sure the public is well-informed and part of the decision-making process when it comes to how Federal decisions and projects may impact the environment. Removing review processes will not be the magic cure to our nation’s economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this administration’s botch job of managing it.”
“It’s unforgivable that as our country is facing a major public health crisis, the President is weakening environmental laws to further pollute our waters, lands, and air. These laws have been created by strong bipartisan majorities in Congress, supported by both Republican and Democratic Presidents, and upheld by the Courts,” Chair Napolitano said. “The truth is Trump is diverting attention away from his failure to lead during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, to secretly undo 50 years of environmental protections widely supported by the American people. This is a shameful abuse of power.”