Maxwell Bernstein | July 17, 2020
President Trump overhauled the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in an announcement in Atlanta on Wednesday to speed up permitting of federal infrastructure programs, according to the Associated Press.
NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the harm done to air, land, water, and wildlife and allows for public review and input when it comes to environmental effects on communities affected by federal infrastructure projects.
Critics say that limiting NEPA will contribute to climate change and will silence predominantly minority communities impacted by federal projects; over 1-million African American’s living within half-mile of natural gas facilities face higher risks of cancer from emitted toxins.
This move comes after district courts ordered for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be emptied to let the Army Corps of Engineers conduct an environmental review, as reported by Iowa Environmental Focus. While this does not have any effect on the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline, it will create environmental consequences for future projects to come.