State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Wednesday issued the following statement after President Donald Trump announced sweeping revisions to longstanding environmental review processes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) — a move that Ferguson said undermines public health and the environment and conflicts with federal law.
President Richard Nixon signed NEPA into law in 1970 after it passed Congress with bipartisan support.
Trump announced the rollbacks Wednesday at a UPS facility in Atlanta.
“For more than 50 years, the National Environmental Policy Act has protected the environment and communities around the country,” Ferguson said in a news release. “The law holds the federal government accountable, requiring all federal agencies to thoroughly examine the impact federal actions have on public health and our shared environment. These reviews prevent costly, time-consuming and dangerous environmental problems.
“The Trump administration’s rules restricting these reviews are its most far-reaching, damaging environmental rollbacks yet. The rules weaken environmental reviews on countless projects in Washington and across the nation, leaving our states and communities without vital tools to ensure federal agencies make smart decisions that do not harm our communities and environment. Low-income, Black, Indigenous and minority communities — which already bear disproportionate impacts from climate change and pollution — will be hit the hardest by these irresponsible regulations.
“This is yet another egregious example of the Trump administration’s crusade to put industry interests above public health and the protection of our shared environment, which is particularly irresponsible during a global pandemic. I intend to sue to fight this unlawful, unjust decision.”
In March of this year, Ferguson joined a group of attorneys general in filing a comment letter urging the Trump administration to reconsider the rule. In a separate letter, Gov. Jay Inslee also urged the federal government to reconsider the rule change.
“This is one of the most egregious steps taken by the Trump administration to date in undermining landmark environmental laws,” Inslee said. “It is particularly irresponsible to be rolling back requirements to consider climate change, at a time when we are already experiencing the dire consequences of inaction on climate. Our state stands firmly against this flawed rule that ignores clear science and puts the health and safety of Washington’s families at risk.”