House Undermines Bedrock Environmental Safeguards

WASHINGTON (October  23, 2013) –  The U.S. House today passed legislation that weakens the National Environmental Policy Act, as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. Earlier, in a vote largely along party lines, the House rejected a proposed amendment that would have improved the water bill.

Scott Slesinger, Legislative Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following comment:

“NEPA is the ‘Magna Carta’ of environmental law. It is unconscionable that the House majority voted to weaken it with this misguided water resources bill. It would lead to steamrolling approval of major dams and other water projects, bypassing a long-established process of public review. Pushed to the sidelines will be the voices of the public, including local officials, landowners and taxpayers, whose input in the past has saved money, historical sites and led to better projects that considered the impact on the environment and nearby communities.

“Further, the House majority snubbed the public by defeating common-sense provisions in the DeFazio amendment. 

“We urge House members to follow the president’s guidance when the water resources bill goes to conference and remove these flawed provisions that undermine long-standing environmental safeguards and the public’s right to be involved.”