On April 19, the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued a rule reinstating three regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that had been amended under the previous administration, restoring the obligation for federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of infrastructure projects and give communities directly affected by these projects greater participation in the approval process. In response, Archbishop Paul S Coakley of Oklahoma City, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Homeland Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:
“We are grateful to the White House Environmental Quality Council for restoring these important aspects of NEPA, which is fundamental environmental policy and a vital safeguard against ecological and social harm.
“In 2020, we opposed the removal of these policies. At that time, we recognized the need to reform NEPA to be more effective and efficient, while advocating for regulatory continuity. We hope So this new rule will set a course for long-term stability in environmental regulation as our country continues to take steps toward environmental justice and stewardship.
“Finally, we recall that ‘political and institutional frameworks do not exist simply to avoid bad practices, but also to promote best practices, to stimulate creativity in the search for new solutions and to encourage individual or collective initiatives’ (Laudato si’, n°177 ) This new rule is an opportunity to design infrastructure projects that promote authentic human development and the stewardship of creation.”
The USCCB’s comment when the 2020 rule was proposed can be found here: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/NEPA-Comment-Final.pdf
Keywords: USCCB, United States, Biden, Trump, Environment, National Environmental Policy Act, Archbishop Paul S Coakley
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