A coalition of 21 states [including California] sued the Trump administration Friday for rolling back what they say is a “rule that is, at its heart, the gutting” of America’s bedrock environmental law.
Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of highways, pipelines and other major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation’s benchmark environmental law.
The proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act could sharply reduce obstacles to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other fossil fuel projects that have been stymied when courts ruled that the Trump administration did not properly consider climate change when analyzing the environmental effects of the projects.
With the Trump administration trudging ahead and re-writing another Obama era environmental law, wary California regulators last month approved new protections for wetlands in the Golden State. The decision by the State Water Resources Control Board came after 11 years of debate between the board, cities, farmers and environmentalists over how to best define and protect the state’s nearly vanished wetlands streams from being paved into extinction. Supporters said the move was a major step toward shielding California streams from Trump’s weakened Clean Water Act. Opponents argued that the rules will create new regulatory hurdles for farmers and businesses.