WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement condemning the Trump White House Council on Environmental Quality’s proposal to degrade key features of the National Environmental Policy Act, announced today. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), last year was the fifth consecutive year with more than 10 events causing $1 billion in damage.
“Decimating protections for public health, public safety and America’s precious natural resources seems to be an everyday occurrence for the Trump Administration. The new proposed regulations announced today would eviscerate climate change impact assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act, stymie local community input on projects and literally impose a page limit on what should be thorough reviews of potential impacts of projects. Safe, stable and long-term jobs are created from infrastructure projects that complement local needs and address regional concerns. This rule change is yet another example of the Trump administration putting polluters and profits above everything else.
“I have found bipartisan support for advancing meaningful climate change resilience investments, including in the surface transportation reauthorization reported by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The National Environmental Policy Act was intended to ensure federal agencies take into account the environmental impacts of their proposed actions regarding major projects such as a highways and pipelines, including climate-related impacts. We have seen with increasing clarity the vulnerability of our infrastructure to extreme weather – from our power grids impacted by wildfires to our rail networks impacted by intense heat waves. Willfully ignoring the reality of climate change in the planning of infrastructure projects will further increase the burdens on American taxpayers and undermine their safety. Protecting our communities from severe events makes good business sense. Eliminating such protections will cost money and lives.
“Turning a blind eye to science and climate impacts that Marylanders already are experiencing is wasteful and short-sighted. That’s why I’ll continue to fight the Trump administration’s fiscally damaging, dangerous policy actions that run counter to the bipartisan will of Congress.”
Senator Cardin is Ranking Member of the EPW Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.