Restore the People’s Environmental Law


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to Council on Environmental Quality

Action ended on September 29, 2023

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We’re grateful for your support.

What Was At Stake

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is one of the most effective tools communities possess to prevent polluting projects from impacting the health and environment of their neighborhoods. For decades, it has protected vulnerable communities from dangerous projects while simultaneously incorporating community feedback to construct better, more resilient projects that are less likely to face litigation. After the Trump administration radically weakened NEPA regulations, the Biden administration immediately took steps to reverse these dangerous rollbacks and restore the regulations to their original, common-sense intent. It recently released proposed NEPA regulations that rightly incorporates numerous environmental justice and climate concerns aimed at helping us build out our future clean energy infrastructure of the future in a just and equitable way. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has opened a public comment period on this latest phase of updated regulations, and you can have your voice heard. Urge the CEQ to strengthen NEPA today! 


The final NEPA regulations must:  

  1. Require agencies to consider project alternatives that would decrease impacts on air, water, and land while also looking at the cumulative impacts communities face from exposure to numerous pollutants.
  2. Reaffirm NEPA as a tool for environmental justice that gives communities the ability to have meaningful input in the project development process while helping avoid disproportionate impacts on frontline communities. 
  3. Require agencies to include future climate impacts when considering new projects. Analyzing these risks will result in safer, more resilient infrastructure for communities. 
  4. Mandate more transparency in the project development process by requiring a timely release of documents and a minimum 30-day comment period for community review of environmental assessments.
  5.  Enshrine tribal consultation and respect for tribal sovereignty and indigenous knowledge throughout the project development process. 
  6.  Ensure a strong NEPA process that addresses the need to build out the clean energy transition in close consultation with communities most impacted by energy development.  

As we face the worsening impacts of the climate crisis, entrenched environmental injustice, and accelerating biodiversity loss, we must invest in NEPA as an essential framework to build the infrastructure and drive the solutions that we urgently need in this decade. We must invest in upfront engagement, center climate change and environmental justice in reviews, and ensure smart master-planning to rise to the massive challenges we face now. Send a letter to CEQ to strengthen NEPA today! 

Arecibo, Puerto Rico
For six years, Arecibo residents have used NEPA to halt a waste-to-energy incinerator, which a corporation wants to build in an area already contaminated with lead, arsenic and other heavy metals. (Alejandro Davila / Earthjustice)

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention. Read more.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue.

Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court. Read more.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment. Read more.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.