Current work in wildlife, rivers, public lands, and climate
Guardians Vows to Confront Injustice of Latest Trump Administration Environmental, Health Rollbacks
Late yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order directing federal agencies to sidestep the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act in order approve mines, highways, pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and other projects deemed “infrastructure.”
Deemed our nation’s bedrock environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act ensures transparency and public accountability when the federal government proposes and approves projects that impact communities and the environment. And as our nation’s safety net for imperiled species, the Endangered Species Act provides critical protection for rare and declining fish, wildlife, and plants.
While citing the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Order actually undermines health and environmental safeguards meant to protect communities and ecosystems, leaving people more vulnerable as the coronavirus pandemic continues. It does not actually respond to any health emergency.
The Order will certainly affect low income communities and people of color who are already disproportionately impacted by industrial development and suffering the injustices of institutional racism.
Attorneys and staff with WildEarth Guardians are promising to fight back, noting that the Order illegally exploits a health emergency.
Below is a further statement from Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program Director:
“This Order is the farthest reaching, most vicious attack by President Trump on our environmental and health safeguards in the U.S. And it comes as people are struggling to stay safe and healthy, and to confront injustice at so many levels. This isn’t just reprehensible, it’s downright monstrous and inhuman. And to take advantage of a health emergency to justify it is the kind of action that conniving dictators take, not genuine leaders of democracies.
This is yet another extreme injustice. In stripping environmental and health safeguards and denying communities protection.
WildEarth Guardians agrees with assessments that the Order is a direct manifestation of the Trump administration’s racism, indifference to peoples’ health and safety, and support for dictatorial government. As has been stated, the Order is “just one more face of authoritarian ideology, with a clear link to issues of race and equality and government accountability.”
Under the guise of a health crisis, the Order will allow fossil fuel companies to drill, frack, mine, and build pipelines with impunity. This has nothing to do with stimulating economic activity, this is all about harnessing racism and authoritarianism to line the pockets of oil, gas, and coal companies at the expense of people, their health, and our environment.”
The silver lining is that the courts won’t tolerate such brutal disregard to law, facts, and reality. We will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served and to defend the laws that we need to protect us and our planet.”