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Udall critical of Trump attempt to gut 1970 environment law

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall is critical of a Trump administration proposal that

New Mexico U.S. Senator Tom Udall. (Courtesy photo)

would ease regulations put into place by the half-century-old National Environmental Policy Act.

“This move to gut NEPA is one of the worst decisions made by the worst environmental administration in history,” Udall said. “The Trump administration’s attempt to gut the only law that requires federal agencies to consider the environmental and climate-related consequences of federal actions is an affront to all of our communities who deserve a voice in projects that affect their health, safety and economic well-being.”

President Trump’s proposal calls for narrowing the scope of the act, which was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970. Udall’s office said the proposal would limit the consideration of climate change effects of new federal projects and eliminate NEPA reviews entirely for projects with major environmental impacts, such as mining, pipelines and logging.

“Since 1970, the National Environmental Protection Act has ensured the federal actions are fully evaluated before decisions are made, protecting public health and including the public input necessary in a healthy democracy,” the senator said.

The president said enforcement of the law had slowed federal approval of projects. The proposal is consistent with previous actions easing environmental restrictions put into place by the Obama administration on public lands, measures that were praised by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt during a visit with Vice President Mike Pence in Artesia, which they said were necessary for economic development.

Udall said taking climate change out of consideration “shows willful blindness and gross negligence in the face of the climate crisis, by both making the problem worse and wasting taxpayer dollars when federal infrastructure is inevitably damaged by worsening floods and fires.”

“While there may be ways to improve the process to both better protect the environment and provide more certainty to industry, this is simply another give-away to corporate polluters who will put profit before clean air and clean water, and the health of our communities,” he said.

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