Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Trump administration announced proposed changes to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidelines, and indicated that federal agencies would not be allowed to consider climate impacts when evaluating the environmental impacts of federal infrastructure projects:
Sen. Merkley said “With this directive, President Trump is effectively ordering the U.S. to turn a blind eye while the world burns. These changes to one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws will undoubtedly worsen our climate crisis and weaken critical safeguards for air, water, and endangered species.
“Climate chaos is no longer a far-off prediction contained in algorithms and computer models about the future. From massive wildfires to megastorms to droughts and flooding, it’s clear that climate chaos has arrived—and, terrifyingly, this is only the beginning.
“Our only hope to save our way of life is to act boldly and quickly to transition from fossil fuels to a clean and renewable energy economy. Clearly, President Trump is more determined to protect the paychecks of oil and gas CEOs than to stand up for the health and prosperity of working Americans. Burying our heads in the tar sands to push forward polluting fossil fuel projects is the most dangerous action we can possibly take at this juncture in history. It’s time for Americans who care about our future to band together and demand a government that will act on climate.”
NEPA, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970, requires the federal government to prepare detailed analyses of projects that could have significant environmental effects, including long-term impacts that courts have said include climate change.