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28 Groups Unite Against Trump Plan

WASHINGTON, DC (February 12, 2018) – Today, President Trump introduced a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure plan that would exempt thousands of infrastructure projects from or otherwise weaken critical environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and more than a dozen other protections.

The 28 organizations named below issued the following statement in response:  

“President Trump’s proposal is an unprecedented giveaway to the wealthy and powerful that would allow his administration and its special interest allies to unilaterally sidestep bedrock conservation, public health, and worker safety laws that keep our families and communities out of harm’s way.

“Across the country, Americans remain overwhelmingly opposed to any plan that would sidestep critical environmental and conservation laws like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and National Environmental Policy Act. They know we don’t need to hand over our communities to special interests. They know we don’t need to sacrifice our clean air, clean water, wildlife, and iconic lands and waters.

“President Trump’s dangerous proposal would hand out massive subsidies for wealthy developers to build roads and bridges without any regard to the impacts of hurricanes, fires, or rising seas. Taxpayers have repeatedly built and rebuilt many of the buildings and roads destroyed by disasters like Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. To continue rebuilding over and over again without taking common-sense, proactive measures to address climate change isn’t just short-sighted – it’s expensive and dangerous.

“America badly needs an infrastructure upgrade. Horrifying events like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which exposed over 100,000 Americans to high levels of lead in their drinking water, are proof enough of that. But President Trump’s proposal does nothing to address real issues like Flint. Instead, by rubberstamping permits for corporations to build oil pipelines, dams, and toxic waste dumps, gutting environmental and labor laws, and severely limiting the public’s ability to hold government accountable will only make our communities – and our nation – a more dangerous place.”

Here is the alphabetical list of the 27 signers of the joint statement:

32BJ SEIU, American Rivers, Animal Welfare Institute, Alaska Wilderness League, Bold Alliance, Brooklyn Movement Center, Care2, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Community Change Action, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Green Latinos, Hip Hop Caucus, Hispanic Federation, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Patriot Not Partisan, Progressive Congress Action Fund, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Save EPA, Sierra Club, State Innovation Exchange, Western Watersheds Project, The Wilderness Society

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STATEMENT: Sierra Club Disappointed in Decision Favoring Trump Border Wall

San Diego, CA (February 27, 2018) – Today, Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled on the side of the Trump administration in their effort to waive environmental laws to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall in California. The decision will expedite border wall construction in delicate habitat and on public lands.  

In response, Sierra Club Managing Attorney Gloria Smith released the following statement:
“The effects of these waivers and the destruction of a border wall will be long-lasting and detrimental for border communities.
“Waiving these bedrock and bipartisan laws has resulted in flooding in places like Nogales where people lost their lives. The waivers have driven destruction in Native American burial sites. They have killed thousands of species and fragmented habitat. Most concerningly, there is zero accountability or consequence for these outcomes.
“The biggest problem with waiving laws is not judicial or philosophical, it is concrete. The laws that are swept aside are not merely red tape. They are critical protections that were put in place for a reason– to protect people, their communities, and the environment that we depend upon.”


Courtney Bourgoin
(248) 214 6682

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Trump’s Infrastructure Scam Would Gut Environmental Protections, Sell Off Public Lands, Fail to Fix America’s Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, DC (January 29, 2017) – As reported by the Washington Post, the White House has drafted a proposal to gut environmental protections in an effort to make it easier for corporations to build dangerous pipelines and other environmentally destructive projects, forming the cornerstone of what the White House is calling an infrastructure plan. In addition:

Earlier leaked plans indicate that the Trump administration is seeking to sell public lands off to the fossil fuel industry and other special interests in order to finance its limited spending program.
Taken together, Trump’s proposed federal budget and this plan would actually cut existing funds and kill existing infrastructure jobs — $1.69 in cuts for every $1 in proposed spending.
The plan would be a huge handout to Wall Street banks, whose privatization of roads, bridges, water systems and other public assets will require charging Americans big tolls and fees.
The plan would give the Secretary of the Interior the ability to unilaterally authorize the construction of pipelines in our National Parks and public lands, rather than Congress.

In Response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“This is not a serious proposal to make the investments America’s infrastructure needs, this is a scam designed to gut clean air, water, and wildlife protections, transform public highways and bridges into privately owned toll roads, and sell off America’s public lands. “We need a plan to create good paying, family-sustaining jobs nationwide by making America a clean energy superpower and investing in public transportation, not a scam to enrich Wall Street. At its core, this proposal is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to give another massive handout to polluters at the expense of our air, water, and health.

“What’s essential is addressing the trillion-dollar elephant in the room: the fact that state and local governments remain starved of badly needed funding, effectively stalling projects before they even get off the ground. Instead, the Trump administration is attempting to exploit the situation to gut bedrock environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many more. Trump and his allies already decided what to do with the money that could fund this project when they handed it to the wealthiest people and corporations in the country.

“Americans know that improving our infrastructure doesn’t have to come at the cost of clean air and clean water. Without bedrock environmental safeguards like the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal government could rubber stamp permits for corporations to build dangerous pipelines and toxic waste dumps.

“When the administration and its Republican allies in Congress use terms like ‘streamlining’ and ‘permitting reform,’ what they are really saying is that they want to eliminate clean air and water safeguards and cut public participation when important decisions are made. We can’t let that happen.”
Adam Beitman

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Trump Administration Waives Environmental Laws for New Mexico Border Wall

TUCSON (January 22, 2018) — The Trump administration today waived more than 30 environmental laws to speed construction of 20 miles of border wall in eastern New Mexico, the third time the “REAL ID” waiver has been used by the Trump administration.

The waiver is meant to allow construction of the New Mexico border wall section without having to comply with laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands or endangered wildlife.

“The Trump administration is stopping at nothing to ram through this destructive border wall,” said Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump’s divisive border wall is a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and it won’t do anything to stop illegal drug or human smuggling.”

Today’s action will allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to waive more than 30 environmental and other laws to convert 20 miles of vehicle barriers into bollard walls along the border west of El Paso, Texas, at the Santa Teresa Land Port of Entry. The Center is considering whether to challenge the waiver in court.

Last year the Center sued to challenge the Trump administration’s use of the waiver to build replacement walls south of San Diego. The lawsuit states that waiver authority expired years ago, it’s an unconstitutional delegation of power to the Department of Homeland Security, and the wall violates the Endangered Species Act.

A hearing on the case is scheduled Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Similar lawsuits, filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other conservation groups, have been consolidated into one case before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

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

November 28, 2017

Paulo Lopes, (202) 849-8398,

WASHINGTON (November 28, 2017) — 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 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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