Protect your right to transparency and involvement!
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For nearly 50 years, the National Environmental Policy Act—NEPA—has been an empowering legal tool that allows communities to defend themselves and their environment from dangerous, rushed or poorly planned federal or industry projects. Our oldest environmental law ensures that your community has a say when special interests want to build a toxic waste incinerator in your neighborhood or a dangerous pipeline next to your child’s school. But over time, polluter interests and their allies in Congress have tried to gut this protection.
Your representatives are accountable to you—not to polluting industries. Tell them to stand up for NEPA now!
Over the past six years, 180 pieces of legislation have sought to weaken or waive NEPA protections. Some leaders in the 115th Congress have signaled their interest in attacking NEPA, and with President Trump’s appointment of an anti-regulatory cabinet, the attacks are bound to have devastating impacts.
NEPA is woven so deeply into our framework that we often take it for granted. It’s so fundamental to our democratic process that it’s considered the “environmental Magna Carta.” Dirty industries and their advocates in Congress who seek to undermine our basic protections know they can’t do it head on by sponsoring legislation to eliminate NEPA. They’ve tried that strategy repeatedly and failed. Now they’re employing strategies to weaken NEPA instead, such as mandating special NEPA waivers for some projects or industries, cutting down the time periods for public comment or agency review, or imposing arbitrary deadlines no matter how complex the issue. Lawmakers attach these sneak attacks to important, must-pass bills, such as infrastructure funding bills. If they’re successful, informed decision making and the ability of people to defend themselves from government and corporate overreach will suffer.
This “death by a thousand cuts” has been going on for years. Some lawmakers and corporations malign NEPA as “bad for business.” They omit, however, that NEPA reduces public controversy, builds consensus with local officials and ensures that projects are done correctly from the start, often saving time and money. Moreover, government data shows that for decades the U.S. economy has expanded even as environmental rules continue to protect public health and the wildlands and wildlife our country needs to thrive. It’s time to face the facts and stop vilifying NEPA.
Tell your representatives in Congress that your right to be heard is not negotiable. Urge them to protect NEPA—your voice!
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