McEachin leads effort regarding environmental reviews
Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced his letter urging the Trump administration to immediately withdraw an executive order that seeks to allow development projects to bypass key environmental reviews that are required by law. These reviews are intended to protect communities across this country from potential adverse environmental effects.
President Trump’s June 4 Executive Order, issued under the guise of an “emergency order” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would sidestep environmental review requirements under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Endangered Species Act to speed approval for transportation, civil works and other infrastructure projects.
“The president’s decision to gut the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) is yet another attack on low-income communities and communities of color,” said McEachin. For decades, environmental justice communities have suffered from our nation’s legacy of environmental racism and injustice, and NEPA has been a critical tool to ensure their voices are heard in the decision-making processes directly impacting their lives. As Americans demand justice, the President is hellbent on silencing the voices of low-income communities and communities of color on the frontlines of our climate crisis. He should abandon this foolish and potentially deadly action.”
In a letter signed by 76 of their colleagues, McEachin and and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Mike Levin (CA-49), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del-At Large) and Katie Porter (CA-45) argued that the order would cause undue harm to communities impacted by poor water and air quality while negatively impacting the “overall health and safety” of these frontline communities.
“This hasty decision would increase the risk of harm to the frontline and fenceline communities that have faced the greatest burdens of environmental injustice and structural racism for generations, and are also hardest hit by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” the lawmakers wrote. “By seeking to circumvent these longstanding environmental laws, you are making clear that your priority is not to protect the American people. Your Order undermines our democracy by taking away the ability for public comment. Moreover, the nature and timing of your actions – the use of an Executive Order in the midst of multiple national crises – further undermines public participation in the policymaking process and can only be viewed as an intentional act to prevent public input into this drastic and hasty decision.”