Food & Water Watch NEPA Litigation

Trump tried to gut one of the most important environmental laws of our time, and we fought back.

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Climate and Energy

Over the past 50 years, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has become the cornerstone of U.S. environmental law, and nations worldwide have replicated its model. NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of their actions, creating a critical opportunity to identify environmental risks of a federal action and for the public to get involved. NEPA is meant to foster sound decision-making and transparency, and has allowed for effective community organizing to raise the alarm on and ultimately defeat many dangerous projects.

Trump’s administration gutted longstanding NEPA regulations that required all federal agencies to consider indirect and cumulative impacts – like contributions to climate change – and required review of actions like federal financing of factory farms. Working with a broad coalition, we challenged this rollback in federal court.

In a disappointing turn, the Biden Administration has asked the court to allow it to reconsider the rules while leaving the illegal Trump rules in place, rather than rescinding them entirely and putting the prior regulations back into effect. Our litigation is on pause while the Biden Administration first proposes to reverse some of the worst pieces of the Trump rule. It then intends to conduct a second, broader rulemaking to strengthen federal environmental review, and we will participate in both rulemakings to ensure that they’re lawful and protective of public health and the environment.

“NEPA review of federal actions like pipeline approvals is essential for informed decisions that consider communities and climate, not just corporate profits. FWW will keep holding Biden’s administration accountable for restoring and strengthening this bedrock environmental law.”

Adam Carlesco, Food & Water Watch Staff Attorney

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