Trump administration again seeks to further silence vulnerable communities

A NEPA rally in Washington, D.C., in Feburary 2020. (© Mike Mather)

Today the Trump administration said it will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to bypass a longstanding bedrock environmental law that protects communities from badly planned projects, like pipelines, oil drilling and highways that, in many cases, impact communities of color, damage neighborhoods or displace residents entirely.

The executive order is using the cover of an economic emergency to suspend the protections of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, as a way to fast-track large federal projects. NEPA is the federal law that provides communities a voice when destructive projects threaten their landscape, lives and livelihoods. It also requires developers to consider less destructive options.

The Trump administration cites the financial downturn caused by the novel coronavirus to justify this change. However, gutting NEPA has been a policy priority of the administration since taking office. Those assaults on basic environmental protections accelerated in January of this year with proposed regulations reversing laws that have protected communities for 50 years.

"For more than a week now, people have encircled the White House to demand their voices be heard because, for too long, authorities have ignored them or marginalized them," says Senior Attorney Kym Hunter, who heads SELC's defense of NEPA. "It is absolutely breathtaking that the Trump administration would use this moment to further squelch these voices. We won’t let this stand. No one is above the law."

More News

Appeals court affirms Smithfield’s liability for noxious odors, noise, and pests

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found Murphy-Brown/Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producers, liable for noxious odors, noise...

8 ways we’ve thwarted Trump’s anti-environmental agenda

SELC has emerged as an effective and trusted national leader in fighting against the Trump administration’s long list of anti-environmental assau...

South DeKalb residents challenge Metro Green Recycling facility

Residents of the City of Stonecrest and DeKalb County have moved to intervene in an ongoing suit against Metro Green Recycling’s construction and...

U.S. Forest Service finalizes rule to cut science and public input; increase logging on national forests

The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it is set to finalize a rule that will cut science-based analysis, transparency, and public input fr...

Conservation groups sue USFWS to save wild red wolves

Updated 11/23 at 9am: SELC filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the new red wolf case, asking for more specific emergency relief to save...

N.C. adds methyl bromide to list of toxic air pollutants as result of public pressure

After years of public pressure, stakeholder engagement, and an exhaustive rulemaking process, North Carolina has joined approximately 20 other st...

More Stories