The White House is about to repeal the Trump-era original environmental law

President Joe Biden’s White House on Wednesday moved to change the Trump administration’s short-sighted, industry-friendly national environmental policy law, one of America’s most fundamental environmental laws.

The NEPA is a 50-year-old law that protects air, water and land by requiring a federal agency to conduct a detailed environmental assessment of a central infrastructure project. In 2020, the Trump administration changed how the federal government enacts legislation for the use of force and other developments, restricting public input on such projects and allowing federal agencies to ignore climate change.

On Wednesday, the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced measures to restore decades-old provisions prior to the Trump-era overhaul, including allowing agencies to consider all the environmental impacts of a proposed project and provide flexibility to work with the community. Consider options that will minimize the damage.

“The basic community protections we are proposing to restore will help ensure that American infrastructure is built properly for the first time and will provide real damage – not actual damage to nearby residents,” CEQ Chairman Brenda Mallory said in a statement. “These loopholes in the environmental review process will help address patching conflicts and lawsuits and eliminate the uncertainty caused by the previous administration’s rule.”

NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images

On October 5, at the International Union of Operating Engineers Training Facility in Howell, Michigan, President Joe Biden spoke about the Bilateral Infrastructure Bill and its Build Back Better Agenda.

The Trump-era changes were the first major updates to the law in more than four decades. Although the Trump administration presented it as a protracted “modernization” needed to speed up approval, critics saw it as a clear attack on environmental justice that greatly benefited polluting industries. The NEPA review process has long been the primary way to challenge pipelines, power plants, airports, and highways for communities, often low-income and color communities, that pose potential risks to the environment and public health.

Biden’s White House said Wednesday’s proposed rules are “the first step” in a broader effort to strengthen environmental law.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairperson Raul M. Grizalva (D-Ariz.) Hailed Wednesday’s announcement as “a welcome first step in improving public health needs and advancing the lives of Americans before corporate polluters make a profit.”

“Today’s move marks the beginning of the process of restoring environmental protection that has stood for decades before the Trump administration,” he said in a statement. “Restoring these protections is a necessary first step towards stronger NEPA protection to improve public input opportunities under NEPA and better protect communities from polluted air and water, especially those already under additional pressure from the growing effects of multiple sources of pollution. There are. . ”

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