For Immediate Release
July 24, 2019
Contact: Jonathon Berman, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Trump administration’s White House Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) released new draft guidance for federal agencies, gutting requirements for environmental reviews of fossil fuel projects.
Under the new guidance, agencies will not be obligated to give greater consideration to greenhouse gas emissions than to other threats to the environment when evaluating proposed projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The draft guidance attempts an end run around the existing obligation that federal agencies consider the cumulative environmental impacts — including climate impacts — of federal actions, instead directing agencies to compare a project’s greenhouse gas emissions to state or national levels in lieu of meaningful disclosure of the cumulative climate impact of an agency’s decisions. Furthermore, the new guidance questions whether the use of the social cost of carbon is even appropriate to use.
Signed into law in 1970, NEPA requires the government to give an opportunity for public input and take environmental, economic, and health impacts into consideration before approving any major project. Attempted actions by the Trump administration to rush through approval of a number of controversial fossil fuel proposals — including Keystone XL and a massive expansion of drilling on public lands — have been rejected by the courts because the administration failed to conduct adequate environmental reviews required under NEPA.
In response, Sierra Club Deputy Legislative Director Matthew Gravatt released the following statement:
“Once again, the Trump administration is more than willing to change the rules to benefit their corporate polluter friends. Today’s actions do nothing but turn a blind eye to the climate crisis while further stripping oversight and safeguards in an effort to aid the fossil fuel industry tear through our communities, public lands, and waterways with dirty and dangerous projects. NEPA is a critical safeguard for our clean air and water, our climate, and our families’ health. We will pursue every available avenue to fight back against this shameless handout to polluters.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.