Howard angered by Trump administration’s proposed environmental rule changes

MALVERN, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, today expressed her dismay at the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the benchmark environmental protection law signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

Howard sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., and U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., imploring them to oppose the changes.

The proposed changes would narrow the scope of NEPA, making the approval process easier for major energy and infrastructure promises by eschewing detailed environmental reviews.

“The changes are reckless, plain and simple,” Howard said. “The Trump administration is stripping away existing legal constraints because their oil and gas friends think that the review process is long and cumbersome. Tough.”

As it stands, major projects must be assessed for potential environmental impacts before receiving approval, and the public must be involved in the process. This allows environmentalists, tribal activists and other concerned citizens to have a voice, she said. However, by redefining “major federal action,” the new version of NEPA would exclude privately financed projects with minimal government funding from these requirements, including several controversial pipeline projects in Howard’s district.

“By proposing arbitrary deadlines and page limits for environmental reviews in the name of cutting bureaucratic red tape, the Trump administration has once again debased itself in the name of greed,” Howard said.