Trump Controversially Revamps NEPA- What Is At Stake?

Must Read

What is the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016?

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA”) is an Act of the Parliament. It seeks to protect...

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Explained: Constitutional Provisions and Legislations With Regards to a Person with Disabilities

The world celebrates December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is also called World...

Follow us

On July 15, Donald Trump, in Atlanta, announced a “top to bottom overhaul” of the regulations that implement NEPA.

Background 

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) gave a notice of proposed rule-making. This was on January 1, 2020. The proposition was to update the rules implementing NEPA. The proposed rule aspired to modernize and clarify the regulations. It was to give way to a more powerful, effective and timely NEPA reviews by Federal agencies. The amendments would further the original intent of the CEQ regulations. That is, reduce paperwork or delays and promote better decisions. It hinted at a consistency. One with the environmental policy envisaged under Section 101 of NEPA.

In 1978, there was a promulgation of these regulations. They were never updated since. Thus, upon conclusion, the update would make them more comprehensible and coherent. CEQ had invited comments on the proposed revision.

The Trump administration and Mary Neumayr branded this as an effort to modernize the environmental review process. Trump announced the proposed rules at the White House. He wanted to regularize what he called an “outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process”. But the response to the same has been otherwise.

Mary Neumayr holds the chair to the CEQ.

What is NEPA?

NEPA stands for the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. President Richard M. Nixon, on January 1, 1970, brought the legislation into force. NEPA is popular as the Magna Carta of the United States Environmental law. The act encourages “productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment”. It promotes efforts which are not damaging to the environment. The act vouches for a “continuing policy” of the U.S. government. It visualizes circumstances where man and nature can co-exist.

The act requires all federal agencies to prepare an “environmental impact statement (EIS)”. The agencies need to do this before any major Federal action is undertaken. Action that could affect the quality of the human environment. Touted as “essentially procedural”, is the mandate. It doesn’t dictate how the agencies should act. Rather, they are only required to disclose the environmental impacts of their actions.

The Overhaul

Trump announced the overhaul so that major projects could speed up. For instance, pipelines and highways. But, the reaction to this announcement has not been very positive. Critics have commented that it could actually put the needs of the poor on the back burner. 

Trump denounced the “mountains of bureaucratic red tape in Washington, D.C.”. Once the regulations streamline, a freeway south of Atlanta would expand, Trump said. He also called it a reclamation of America’s proud heritage as a nation of builders. America is nation that can and will get things done. He further added in complete disregard to the impact on climate change.

These new rules are set to cause a fall in the types and number of projects that can be under review under the NEPA. It will also mitigate the timeline for reviews. In fact, it will decimate the mandate. One that agencies need to consider the cumulative environmental effects of projects. In short, climate change won’t be a determinant in the materialization of a project.

Trump’s agenda of “energy dominance” which the law curtailed could be given a freeway now. Two weeks ago, the environmental reviews side-tracked. This was due to a series of controversial oil and gas pipelines projects. These included the Keystone XL, the Dakota Access and the Atlantic Coast pipelines. These could now gain momentum, “gutting” the regulations. Sharon Buccino, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

The Aftermath 

NEPA gave a voice to the marginalized communities in America. Those who had been afflicted by pollution from highways, pipelines and chemical plants. The move by the government aims to put those voices to quiet. Trump’s efforts to speed up delayed projects are at the cost of environmental damage. As well as cause an impact to the community.

Agencies will now have to issue EI statements within a stringent 2-year period. This is the half of what has been the 4.5 year time limit. The comments that are invited from the public will now have to be submitted. The topics and the subjects of review under the act will be very limited.

But, several environmental lawyers have declared the new regulations to be illegal. They have said that they will challenge them in the court. Moreover, Joe Biden has promised to keep the frontline and the fence-line communities at the forefront. Joe Bidden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgements from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe for our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

[WhatsApp Privacy Policy Row] It’s a Private App, Don’t Use It; Says Delhi High Court

On Monday, while hearing a petition regarding the privacy policy of WhatsApp, the Delhi High Court said, “It is a private app. Don't join it. It is a voluntary thing, don't accept it. Use some other app.”

Madras High Court Asks the State To Reconsider Number of Seats Allotted for Bcm Category

Mr. Shakkiya filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution to issue a Writ of Mandamus. The petition sought to direct...

Gujarat High Court Directs To Register Name of Petitioners in the Society Records as Owners of Property, as per Will

A single-judge bench of Gujarat High Court consisting of Honourable Justice Biren Vaishnav, because probate wasn’t necessary and that the petitioners were entitled to...

If No Complaint Is Filed, No Further Orders Are Required To Be Passed: Telangana High Court

Excerpt In Matlakunta Sundaramma vs The State Of Telangana, on January 8, 2021, the Telangana High Court decided that there is no requirement of passing...

Gujarat High Court Allows Report Filed by Official Liquidator for Dissolution of the Company

The present report had been filed by the Official Liquidator for the dissolution of M/s AtRo Limited under the provisions of Section 497 (6)...

Parents of Road Accident Victim Entitled To Compensation: Delhi High Court

Justice JR Midha said, “Even if parents are not dependent on their children at the time of an accident, they will certainly be dependent, both financially and emotionally, upon them at the later stage of their life, as the children were dependent upon their parents in their initial years.”

Plea Challenging the AIBE Rules Framed by BCI Filed in the Supreme Court

A Writ Petition was presently filed in the Supreme Court by a newly enrolled lawyer challenging the All India Bar Examination Rules 2010 which have been framed by the Bar Council of India which mandates that an advocate has to qualify for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) to practice law after enrollment.

Bombay High Court: Mere Presence at the Crime Scene Not Enough for Punishment

The Bombay High Court ruled that it cannot be considered a crime if a person is merely present at the crime scene which falls under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels and Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act 2016. It also quashed two First Information Reports (FIR) against two individuals who were arrested in a raid at a dance bar by the Santacruz Police, in 2017.

CAIT Files a Plea Against WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy in the Supreme Court

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has filed a petition against WhatsApp’s new privacy rules in the Supreme Court. The petition says that WhatsApp which is known to render public services by providing a platform to communicate has recently imposed a privacy policy that is unconstitutional, which not only goes against the fundamental rights of citizens but also jeopardizes the national security of our country.

RTI Activist Files a Plea in Bombay High Court Against Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

On Saturday, a plea has been filed before the Bombay High Court by an activist stating that Bharat Biotech Covaxin had not been granted full approval but a restricted use in clinical trials according to the Drugs Comptroller General of India. The Company's phase 3 trials are ongoing and the DGCI has not made any data available in the public domain for peer- review by independent scientists.

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -