The Inflation Reduction Act contained hundreds of billions of dollars to help us fight the climate crisis, but polluting industries and their allies are now looking to retaliate. They are pushing for a “permitting side-deal" that was crafted in the backrooms of Washington with no public disclosure and could now be up for a vote in Congress. The side-deal would be a handout to the fossil fuel industry and constitutes a direct attack on the health of our communities, particularly those who bear the burdens of toxic facilities. It seeks to gut bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and it is being supported by the oil and gas industry, its lobbyists, and congressional allies. Tell your members of Congress to reject the side-deal.
NEPA is often referred to as “the People’s Environmental Law” because it gives people a voice in federal decision-making when industries try to construct dirty infrastructure projects in their neighborhoods. It’s a key tool for low-income communities and communities of color to fight back against polluting infrastructure — from pipelines to refineries to highways.
If passed, the side-deal could weaken NEPA by:
- Reducing requirements to consider healthier project alternatives
- Allowing deficient state analyses to substitute for federal review, bypassing more protective federal requirements
- Promoting the use of categorical exclusions from the NEPA process which would allow projects to be approved with little to no public input, transparency or environmental impact analysis
- Trying to exclude impacted communities from seeking legal redress for illegal projects with higher hurdles for impacted stakeholders
Some members in Congress still want this side-deal to go through as part of future, must-pass legislation. We need your help to make it clear to your members of Congress that this deal does not serve the public. This dirty side-deal should not receive a vote — the health of our communities and our planet depend on it. We need your help to stop the bill.
To pass the bill, the fossil fuel industry is spreading a myth that NEPA is the reason for delays in development and the buildout of infrastructure in this country. The truth is that the industry and its political allies have engaged in a malicious and self-serving strategy. They’ve tried to gut NEPA regulations, blocked funding for adequate reviews, and then claimed “burdensome regulations” are slowing down development — all so they can continue to greenlight harmful polluting projects that put their corporate profits over people’s health and our children’s future.
Fortunately, we have the solutions to fight back. Congress just approved nearly $1 billion to fund NEPA as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is meant to ensure that future environmental reviews will be thorough and efficient. There’s also a bill in Congress, the Environmental Justice for All Act, which would create certainty for project sponsors and stakeholders by clarifying exactly how agencies should consider and address the cumulative, and often disproportionate, impacts that may result from project development. This type of certainty ensures permitting and project development proceed not just efficiently, but equitably.
This side-deal is far from a done deal. Join us in using your voice to tell Congress to reject this dirty deal. Instead, Congress should pass the Environmental Justice for All Act to stop the gutting of NEPA.