Washington, D.C. September 12, 2022 – Following requests from members to add their signatures, Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today sent an updated letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) opposing the permitting side deal. The letter is now signed by a total of 77 members of Congress who join hundreds of civil rights, environmental justice, public health, and climate-focused organizations opposed to including the permitting rider in a Continuing Resolution (CR), including the NAACP, GreenLatinos, Indigenous Environmental Network, Climate Justice Alliance, WeAct for Environmental Justice, the Clean Air Council, United for Clean Energy, and the League of Conservation Voters.
The full updated letter is available here: https://bit.ly/3U6bUbI
On sending the updated letter, Chair Grijalva said, “I don’t know how a CR vote will go if it includes the permitting rider, but the opposition is loud and only getting louder. I encourage leadership to listen to its caucus and keep us out of a shutdown standoff that nobody wants. Give us a clean CR and let these dirty permitting provisions stand up to congressional scrutiny on their own. Now is not the time to roll the dice on a government shutdown.”
On Sept. 9, the same day Chair Grijalva first sent his letter, multiple environmental justice leaders also sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi opposing the permitting rider.
Last month, a one-page summary of the permitting proposal was released and draft bill text leaked with a watermark of the American Petroleum Institute (API). Instead of accelerating permitting through evidence-based reforms like addressing the major shortage of trained staff to process permits at under-resourced federal agencies, the leaked permitting rider undermines the enforcement mechanisms of our nation’s environmental and public health laws and weakens public disclosure requirements for the environmental and public health impacts of energy projects.
For decades, low-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities who have been overburdened by pollution from dirty energy development have fought to strengthen the public input processes mandated by NEPA. As the lawmakers write in their letter, the provisions mandated by NEPA “are among the only tools local communities have to force careful review of federal projects that may have serious, long-term, environmental, and public health consequences in those communities.” Chair Grijalva’s and Rep. A. Donald McEachin’s (D-Va.) Environmental Justice For All Act, the most comprehensive environmental justice legislation in history, would strengthen NEPA, among other important provisions.
On Aug. 24, over 650 grassroots organizations and environmental, civil rights, and climate-focused advocacy groups sent a letter to Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi opposing the permitting rider.
Chair Grijalva previously published an opinion piece expressing his opposition to the permitting side deal.