The people’s environmental law is finally restored

What's At Stake

Thanks in part to the advocacy of tens of thousands of Earthjustice supporters, one of the most effective federal laws for protecting communities from polluting industries and building a just and equitable clean energy future was just restored. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ensures that communities have a voice in the project development process. It helps people protect themselves from dangerous, rushed, or poorly planned federal projects while also incorporating communities’ input to make better, more resilient projects. After NEPA was gutted in the last year of the Trump administration, the Biden administration restored and improved the NEPA regulations this month. Join us in thanking the Biden administration for restoring the people’s environmental law.  

For over 50 years, NEPA has given communities a voice and Earthjustice will continue to defend its integrity and fight back attempts in Congress to undermine its intent. Whether it’s a highway expansion, toxic incinerator, or polluting power plant, this law helps communities protect their health, lives, and livelihoods.  As we build out the clean energy infrastructure of the future, NEPA will play a critical role in ensuring we build strong, resilient projects that benefit local communities. Despite industry opposition, NEPA is the bridge, not the barrier, to our clean energy future.  

The Biden administration is reversing the worst impacts of the former Trump administration’s rollbacks to public input and environmental review under NEPA. In the final rule, the Biden administration not only restored NEPA to its commonsense intent but improved the regulations so that the transition to the clean energy future is not only swift, but equitable. Take a moment and join us in thanking the Biden administration for restoring the people’s environmental law.  

A Louisiana Bucket Brigade bicycle tour in Norco, Louisiana, on Mar. 16, 2022, cycles by oil and gas infrastructure.
A Louisiana Bucket Brigade bicycle tour in Norco, Louisiana, on Mar. 16, 2022. Leading the tour was Sheila Tahir, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Pastor Harry Joseph, a resident of St. James Parish and the pastor of Mt. Triumph Baptist Church. (Brad Zweerink / Earthjustice)

Delivery to Biden administration, Council on Environmental Quality

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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.