Sixteen AGs Sent Letter in Opposition to Executive Order That Seeks to Waive Environmental Reviews of Major Infrastructure Projects

June 29, 2020

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of 16 attorneys general in sending a letter to the White House in response to an executive order that directed federal agencies to invoke emergency provisions under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act in order to “accelerate” approvals of major infrastructure projects. In their letter, the attorneys general emphasized that the statutes’ implementing regulations “only authorize the use of emergency procedures when complying with the normal environmental review requirements would pose an immediate threat to life or property, situations like natural disasters or other unforeseen and suddenly destructive events.” The letter warned that because the emergency provisions are intended for acute crises, the administration’s attempt to invoke them in a “[b]road, nationwide” manner to address the economic impacts of a sustained and non-localized public health crisis “is plainly unlawful and risks further harming the very communities that are already disproportionately affected by the virus and other environmental risks.”

Document Type:
  • Non-rulemaking Letters
  • Press Releases/Statements
States:
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin
Agencies:
  • Executive Office of the President
Issues:
  • Clean Water Act
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Energy Infrastructure
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Pipelines
  • Public Lands
Action Type:
Other