CBF Condemns Senate Vote to Weaken Environmental Review Protections

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) condemned today’s Senate vote to throw out important environmental review safeguards the Biden administration restored earlier this year.
Under the 1996 Congressional Review Act, Congress has a limited window to block any new regulation with a joint resolution passed by both chambers and signed by the president. Only a simple majority is needed.  
Senators voted 50-47  today in favor of preventing the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) from reinstating protections for environmental justice communities and fighting climate change that the Trump administration stripped from federal permitting rules in 2020.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts of proposed projects and their alternatives. NEPA rules apply to a wide variety of federal decisions, from construction of roads and pipelines to land use plans and environmental restoration activities.
In April, CEQ restored the requirement that federal agencies consider all relevant environmental impacts of a project, including the consequences of accelerating climate change and its effects, and further polluting communities already overburdened by dirty air or water. CEQ also reestablished NEPA rules as the floor, rather than the ceiling, for environmental review standards federal agencies must meet.
The resolution rejecting those changes will be sent to the House, but Democratic leaders are unlikely to put it to vote.  
 Following the vote, CBF Federal Legislative and Policy Attorney Keisha Sedlacek issued this statement:
“Today’s vote is a dangerous step towards unraveling vital reforms that ensure federal agencies take environmental justice and climate change into account when conducting environmental reviews.
“Communities already overburdened by pollution deserve a say when their government decides whether to greenlight a project that could further harm their health and environment. And future generations will pay a steep price if we fail to consider how a project could accelerate climate change and impacts, like severe flooding, that already damage communities and threaten lives.
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation urges House leaders to reject this effort to dismantle bedrock environmental protections necessary to protect our communities.”

Lisa Caruso 90x110

Lisa Caruso

Washington, D.C. Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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