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Bipartisan lawmakers attempt to drum up opposition to proposed changes of environmental law

Bipartisan lawmakers attempt to drum up opposition to proposed changes of environmental law
© Greg Nash

Reps. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble House Democrats press Facebook on role as a 'breeding ground for polarization' COVID-19 vaccine makers pledge massive supply increase MORE (D-Colo.) and Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyGrowing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting Lawmakers express concern about lack of young people in federal workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Today: Vaccine distribution starts, Electoral College meets. MORE (R-Fla.) sent a letter to the entire House on Thursday, urging their colleagues to oppose President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE's proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Trump earlier that day outlined changes he hopes to make to the rule that would allow more industry involvement in environmental reviews and lessen the extent to which climate change is a factor in those assessments.  

"We invite you to join us in expressing our strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s plans, announced today, to revise the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in a way that, among other things, ignores the full extent of the climate crisis," DeGette and Rooney wrote in their letter. 

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The members of Congress went on to talk about the damage that human-caused climate change has had in the U.S already. 

"With billions of dollars in damage already being inflicted on our homes, businesses and infrastructure from storms, floods, and wildfires exacerbated by human-caused climate change; with health impacts already being experienced from increased heat waves, pollution and disease vectors; and with threats to our national security already being amplified by climate impacts in other countries, turning a blind eye towards climate change is exactly the wrong direction for federal policy to take," they added. 

The proposed changes to the NEPA were also met with opposition from some Democrats and environmental groups on Thursday like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), who described the alterations as neutering the law that ensures the government accounts for climate change.

“We didn’t need more proof that the fossil fuel industry has hardwired the Trump administration to deliver on its interests, but we got it anyway,” he said.  

Trump administration officials spoke out in favor of the proposal.

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Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said on a call to present the proposal that NEPA has “paralyzed commonsense decision making for a generation.”

"This is a really, really big proposal. It affects virtually every big decision made by the federal government that affects the environment, and I think it will be the most significant deregulatory proposal you ultimately implement," he also told President Trump.