Attorney General Becerra Slams Trump Administration Rule Undermining Critical Environmental Review of Federal Projects

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of a final rule curtailing requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that federal agencies review and assess the impact of their actions on the environment.

"The Trump Administration's latest action puts polluters in the driver's seat at a time when our country can least afford it," said Attorney General Becerra. "As the coronavirus continues to spread, the Trump Administration is rewriting the law in order to open loopholes and fast-track projects that endanger public health and pollute our environment. We won't let them off the hook. We will continue to do all we can to fight for a clean, healthy, and safe environment for all Californians." 

Enacted in 1969, NEPA is one of the nation’s foremost environmental statutes. NEPA requires that before any federal agency undertakes a “major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” it must consider the environmental impacts of the proposed action, alternatives to the action, and any available mitigation measures. Numerous federal actions, from the approval of significant energy and infrastructure projects to key decisions concerning the management of federal public lands, require compliance with NEPA. Today’s final rule upends the requirement that federal agencies comprehensively evaluate the impacts of their actions on the environment and public health. 

In March, Attorney General Becerra co-led a coalition of attorneys general in filing a comment letter opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed rule to undercut implementation of NEPA. Previously, Attorney General Becerra urged the Trump Administration to carefully consider any changes to the NEPA regulations and to prioritize the environment and public health if the Trump Administration chose to move forward with revisions to its guidance.

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