Washington, D.C. – Reports indicate that President Trump will sign an executive order today allowing federal agencies to bypass core environmental laws – including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – to approve large-scale infrastructure projects, including fossil fuel mining and pipelines, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In response, Food & Water Action Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:
“This executive order is the latest in a string of outlandish authoritarian acts from a president that is quickly spiraling deeper into the realm of anti-democratic, anti-law, anti-Constitution dictatorship. This particular action is an egregious attempt to bail out the flailing fossil fuel industry by allowing it to completely bypass benchmark environmental rules at a moment when Trump thinks no one is paying attention. Simply put, Trump is an acute threat – not only to public health and our environment, but to Constitutional rule-of-law and American democracy itself.
“The National Environmental Policy Act is one of our country’s fundamental public health and environmental protection tools. Without it, air pollution and drinking water contamination would be rampant from coast to coast – to say nothing of over-the-cliff climate disaster. Allowing the fossil fuel industry to dig, drill and frack unbounded by NEPA amounts to a targeted strike on people of color and low-income communities most likely to be impacted by these hazardous practices. It is a strike on environmental justice, climate stability and a livable planet.
“We are doing all in our power to stop this malicious, authoritarian president, and we won’t stop until he is stopped.”