With rollbacks to the bedrock National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) expected to be released as soon as this week from the White House, and predictions alluding to intentions of gutting core rules of the environmental law, it seems likely that Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s pro-industry path and previous attempts to limit and narrow NEPA reviews will prevail. A new analysis by Western Values Project finds at least 12 NEPA-related meetings held by Sec. Bernhardt and his nominated second-in-command Kate MacGregor.
“The Trump administration’s anti-public lands, anti-outdoor heritage agenda remains a stark reality. With former industry lobbyist Secretary Bernhardt leading the charge to roll back this bedrock conservation law for his former clients, the White House’s culture of corruption is more than likely to follow suit,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. “Sec. Bernhardt and Pres. Trump seems to be working overtime to do everything in their power to exploit our public lands and shared resources, silence the public’s voice, and ensure unfettered access to industry and corporations.”
Analysis of Sec. Bernhardt’s publically released calendars show that he and acting second-in-command Kate MacGregor have held no less than a dozen meetings concerning NEPA and its potential revision. At least one meeting, hosted by MacGregor, refers to “possibilities of streamlining” NEPA, while another refers to “NEPA reform.” In a draft White House memo reported on by E&E News, the Trump plan proclaimed to “simplify” the definition of environmental, language seeming to mirror the NEPA meetings held by Sec. Bernhardt and his swampy political team.
Sec. Bernhardt has long rallied for revisions that would make skirting important environmental reviews easier, seemingly trying to negate or hide any potential industry development impacts on America’s public lands. He went so far as to issue a memorandum that limits NEPA practices, calling it an effort to “streamline” reviews, while in reality setting time and page limits on potentially tedious and critical environmental analysis. The restrictions were intended to fast-track oil and gas development on public lands.
Separately, Sec. Bernhardt also eliminated at least four environmental protection policies and directives that wiped away guidance on how Interior employees should minimize the environmental impact of development on public lands and waters.
Conflict-Ridden Interior Leadership Attend at Least a Dozen Meetings Regarding NEPA Revisions
On Tuesday September 25, 2018, David Bernhardt attended a “SOL NEPA Conference HH”
On Friday September 21, 2018, David Bernhardt attended a “Meeting with NEPA Planners”
On Friday June 29, 2018, David Bernhardt attended a “Meeting with DOI Bureaus on NEPA”
On Monday June 25, 2018, David Bernhardt attended a “NEPA Meeting with DOI Bureaus”
On Thursday May 3, 2018, David Bernhardt attended a “NEPA Review Meeting/Conf Call – San Juan Draft Environmental Impact Statement”
On Tuesday April 17, 2018, David Bernhardt attended “PCC: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)”
On Monday May 7, 2018, Katharine MacGregor attended “NEPA Reform Legislation”
On Tuesday April 10, 2018, Katharine MacGregor attended a “NEPA Discussion w/ House Natural Resources”
On Monday March 12, 2018, Katharine MacGregor attended a “NEPA Call”
On Wednesday April 12, 2017, Katharine MacGregor attended “Discuss EO on Climate Change and NEPA Docs for Mine Plans”
On Friday April 7, 2017, Katharine MacGregor attended “Intro to NEPA and Possibilities for Streamlining”
On Friday February 24, 2017, Katharine MacGregor attended “NEPA Introductory briefing”