For Immediate Release
Food & Water Watch, along with a coalition of organizations, has filed suit challenging the Trump Administration’s plan to substantially gut the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires federal agencies to review the environmental impacts of their proposed actions, and has stood for decades as a cornerstone of federal environmental law.
The coalition—represented by Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center—filed its suit today in the Northern District Court of California, asserting that the new rule violates NEPA’s requirements and is arbitrary and capricious.
While much of the criticism of Trump’s NEPA rule has rightly focused on how it weakens requirements to consider the climate impacts of pipeline and fossil fuel infrastructure permitting decisions, the White House rollback would also harm community efforts to stop factory farm expansion.
Under current regulations, Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans and loan guarantees for building and operating new CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) are subject to NEPA review. The White House’s rollback would exempt these actions from NEPA review, opening the door for polluting facilities to receive government loan backing with no consideration of their environmental or community impacts and without notification to rural communities. FSA financing is essential for many factory farms that cannot obtain financing elsewhere.
In response to the filing of the lawsuit, Food & Water Watch Senior Staff Attorney Tarah Heinzen released the following statement:
“Communities that have been threatened with air and water pollution from factory farms rely on the National Environmental Policy Act as one tool to protect the health and safety of their families. There is no doubt that increased attention on FSA’s use of public resources to prop up the factory farm industry--and its weak environmental reviews of this financing--are precisely what prompted the Trump administration to eliminate the review requirement entirely, once again putting the interests of mega-polluters over the rights of people. The coalition’s lawsuit challenging the White House’s assault on this bedrock environmental law is about protecting our rights to clean air, clean water and a livable climate.”