Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 8, 2023


Paulo Lopes, (202) 849-8398,

Press Conference Monday to Explain Harms From Environmental Law Rollbacks

WASHINGTON— Legal experts and representatives from Indigenous and environmental groups will hold a virtual press conference Monday to discuss the environmental law rollbacks in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.

Last week President Biden signed legislation to raise the debt ceiling that dramatically weakens the National Environmental Policy Act. These unprecedented rollbacks will make certain projects exempt from environmental review and allow fossil fuel corporations to conduct reviews of their own projects.

A panel of experts will discuss how these statutory changes will bring increased uncertainty and strip away one of the most crucial legal tools that environmental justice communities and the public have to contest harmful projects.

What: Virtual press conference on National Environmental Policy Act rollbacks.

When: 1 p.m. EDT, Monday, June 12, 2023

Where: Zoom,

Who: Paulo Lopes, senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, will moderate a panel that includes:

  • Dinah Bear, former general counsel of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality for Democratic and Republican administrations
  • Dr. Crystal Cavalier, co-founder of 7 Directions of Service
  • Kristen Monsell, oceans program litigation director at the Center for Biological Diversity


The National Environmental Policy Act is sometimes called the “magna carta” of environmental protections. Congress passed the Act nearly unanimously, and it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on Jan. 1, 1970.

NEPA allows the public to participate in government decision-making. It helps ensure transparency by requiring that federal agencies analyze a project’s potential environmental harms before making decisions. The law has served as the model for conducting environmental reviews for more than 100 countries and dozens of U.S. states and localities.

Data collected by federal agencies show that NEPA works well and as intended, despite false claims by right-wing industry groups regarding project delays. For instance, more than 192,000 projects, worth about $300 billion, efficiently went through the NEPA process as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The NEPA process also has been vital in raising concerns about environmentally destructive projects, including the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

center locations