Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 28, 2017

Contact: Paulo Lopes, (202) 849-8398,

House GOP Hearing to Focus on Weakening Law Protecting Environment, Public Participation

WASHINGTON— The House Committee on Natural Resources, led by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), will use a hearing Wednesday to justify weakening the National Environmental Policy Act. The Act, often called “NEPA,” is one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws that guarantees public participation in federal agency decision-making and requires that agencies review the environmental impacts of their actions before making a decision. Congressional Republicans this year have introduced more than 45 bills that would weaken NEPA.

“Laws like NEPA help ensure that we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. It’s disgraceful that these Republicans want to weaken it,” said Paulo Lopes, public lands policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Polluters and special interests certainly benefit from these kinds of sweetheart deals but people, wildlife and are environment will certainly lose out.”

NEPA requires that federal agencies take a “hard look” at the environmental impacts of their proposed projects either through the completion of a concise “environmental assessment” or a more in-depth “environmental impact statement” for more complex projects. This process is the primary mechanism to ensure public participation in agency decision-making. NEPA has a history of working well. For instance, more than 192,000 projects, worth about $300 billion, successfully went through the NEPA process as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“NEPA provides lifesaving ‘look before you leap’ protections for all of us,” said Lopes. “In the Trump era, where conflict of interest is rampant and industry is firmly in the driver’s seat, NEPA is more vital than ever.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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