21 States Sue Trump Administration for Rolling Back National Environmental Policy Act

A coalition of 21 states has sued President Donald Trump and his administration for rolling back the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), considered the nation’s premier environmental legislation that promotes the protection and enhancement of the environment.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin are all part of the lawsuit.

The Trump administration has essentially weakened NEPA, the plaintiffs argue in their suit, saying the move would lead to “uninformed federal decisions that adversely impact vulnerable communities.”

“NEPA requires something basic, but very important from the federal government,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D), who referred to NEPA as the “Magna Carta” of environmental legislation. “It basically requires the federal government to look before they leap. Pretty straightforward. Look at the science, look at the impacts. What’s going to happen if we go forward? What the Trump administration wants to do is put blinders on before the federal government leaps, so we don’t know what those impacts are.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also weighed in.

“The Trump administration is impatient; the Trump administration is sloppy, and the Trump administration doesn’t like to do its homework. And the result is that oftentimes before we can get to the substance of the matter, we beat them on the procedure; we beat them because they didn’t go to court, or they didn’t go through the regulatory process and try to implement it the right way,” he said, adding: “We’re able to succeed because on the substance we’ve got those great allies — the facts, the science and the law with us — but it also helps that these guys are just plain sloppy and impatient. And it really helps us have a record of success.”