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June 4, 2020
Contact: Tom Lalley

New Executive Order is a ‘Brazen Attempt to Suspend Our Democratic Principles and the Rule of Law’

Statement from David J. Hayes on today's executive order waiving 
environmental laws for major infrastructure projects.

Washington, D.C. —   President Trump today signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to rely on emergency authorities to expedite approvals for major infrastructure projects such as pipelines, energy projects on public lands, and highways. The president’s order assumes that legal obligations to adhere to environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act can be waived or otherwise avoided in an economic emergency, such as that presented by COVID-19. David J. Hayes, Executive Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law and former Interior Deputy Secretary in the Obama and Clinton administrations, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement:
“Neither our environmental nor our disaster relief laws give the administration authority to short-circuit legal obligations to evaluate potential environmental or community impacts of proposed energy projects, forestry projects, highway projects or other major long-lived infrastructure projects. The executive order is another brazen attempt by the administration to avoid the rule of law and push through favored, non-emergency projects without legally-required environmental analysis and public scrutiny. It directs federal agencies to run roughshod over Americans’ legal rights and interests — particularly those in vulnerable communities who often are most adversely impacted by such projects and whose voices have been ignored for far too long.”



About the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center
The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center (State Impact Center) is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advocate for clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. For more information, visit our website