The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of the nation’s strongest historic preservation laws, is under siege. Recently, the White House issued new rules that completely undermine NEPA’s effectiveness. Today, the National Trust filed a lawsuit challenging these rules.
For more than 50 years, NEPA has required federal agencies to consider the impacts of their decisions on cultural and natural resources and to disclose these impacts to the public. The new rules not only make it more difficult for citizens to express their concerns, but they seek to rush the development of pipelines, highways that lead to sprawl, and other massive industrial projects.
While Congress intended NEPA to require the federal government to stop, look, and listen before making decisions, these protections have now been swept aside. Changes included in the new rules make it simpler for agencies to ignore negative impacts to historic resources and remove the obligation for agencies to consider how their decisions contribute to climate change.
In short, these new rules put historic places in serious danger. That’s why the National Trust is taking this issue to court and fighting back. But to succeed, we need your help.