Action: Protect the National Environmental Policy Act

The Trump administration is proposing major rule changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that severely limit our ability to assess the environmental impacts of major federal infrastructure projects like pipelines, dams, mines, highways, and more. The changes will also block federal agencies from considering cumulative impacts like climate change in environmental reviews, and will allow some polluters to sidestep them entirely, effectively gutting a landmark piece of legislation that has protected our environment and the health and safety of Americans for over 50 years. The rule changes are designed to bypass environmental regulations, ignore climate change, and protect corporations and major polluters from accountability. We can still stop this egregious attack on our environment before it’s too late!

Use your voice! Leave a comment to protect NEPA using the instructions below.

NEPA Comment Instructions

The Council on Environmental Quality is collecting public comments on the proposed rule changes until March 10, 2020. Please follow these instructions to use your voice to protect NEPA!

  1. Read NEPA background information (below).
  2. Click here to open the regulations.gov comment portal.
  3. Copy-paste our suggested comment (below) into the comment box, customize it, or write your own. Remember, messages with a personal touch or testimonial will have a bigger impact!
  4. Enter you first and last name. Contact information is not necessary. You can also submit anonymously.
  5. Click “Continue”
  6. Review your comment and check the box for “I read and understand the statement above.”
  7. Click “Submit”
  8. Maximize your impact and share on social media!

Background on NEPA

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a critical law that empowers local communities to protect themselves and their environment from dangerous, rushed or poorly planned federal projects. We teach our children to “look before they leap.” NEPA requires our government to do the same.

Passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by President Nixon on January 1, 1970, NEPA is the foundation of reasonable, balanced, and transparent protections for our environment. With the passage of NEPA, Congress recognized that government actions can have large-scale and profoundly detrimental effects on the environment and the health of local communities.

At its most basic level, NEPA requires government agencies to engage in a review process intended to discover any significant environmental and public health impacts before a decision is made and construction begins. For example, if the government wanted to build a toxic waste incinerator in a residential neighborhood, the NEPA environmental review process would likely discover significant long-term health risks to the local community. NEPA simply and sensibly ensures the federal government informs and is responsive to the public it serves.

Thanks to NEPA, millions of people have been given a voice in federal government decisions impacting their life they did not have before.


(Republished from protectnepa.org)

Suggested Comment

I write in strong opposition to the Council on Environmental Quality’s proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which—if implemented—would pose a severe threat to the health and safety of all Americans, especially our most marginalized and vulnerable communities. For over 50 years NEPA has served as the bedrock of transparent environmental protections. Sadly, the proposed changes will effectively gut the ability of federal agencies to accurately assess the long term impacts of major federal construction projects and also threatens the right of local communities to participate in the review process and voice their concerns. Ignoring the indirect or cumulative effects of infrastructure projects, like pollution and long-term climate impacts, puts us all at risk and directly undermines NEPA’s purpose.

[Insert personal testimony, see below for examples]

As the world continues to reel from the dangerous effects of the global climate crisis, we should be strengthening NEPA, not gutting it. Please reject these proposed rule changes and safeguard thorough and transparent environmental review.

Personal Testimony Examples (i.e. Why do you care? How would the rule changes impact you? Or how has NEPA protected your community before?)

  • I want to ensure NEPA can protect my community from oil spills, pipeline leaks, and the large-scale impacts of burning fossil fuels.
  • Rising sea levels put my family/business/community at risk, and NEPA reviews should take that kind of impact into consideration before approving projects that will generate greenhouse gasses.
  • [Check https://protectnepa.org/success-stories/ for NEPA Success Stories in your state.]
    • The NEPA review of Chicago’s Harbor Lock saved taxpayers millions and protected residents from dangerous floods. Please keep NEPA strong so it can continue to provide community-based solutions with accurate information.
    • Major environmental disasters strike when corporations and federal agencies ignore or circumvent NEPA reviews. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill could have been prevented if a full NEPA review was conducted. Please prevent future disasters by keeping NEPA strong.

Share on Social Media (Sample Post)

  • “Trump is threatening the National Environmental Policy Act, which has protected our environment and the health and safety of Americans for 50 years. But we can still stop it! Visit hereforclimate.org to learn more and use your voice to #ProtectNEPA! #HEREforClimate”