Environmental and Labor Coalition Seeks to Block Baseless Partisan Attacks on Bedrock Environmental Law – 6.27.24

Jun 27th, 2024 Written by suwa

June 27, 2024

Environmental and Labor Coalition Seeks to Block Baseless Partisan Attacks on Bedrock Environmental Law – 6.27.24

Republican-led lawsuit would dismantle revitalized NEPA rules that highlight environmental justice and climate change

Grant Stevens, Communications Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (319) 427-0260; Geoffrey Nolan, Earthjustice; (202) 740-7030; 

SEATTLE, WA—Today, a diverse coalition of environmental justice, labor, and conservation groups moved to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s finalized phase II regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The lawsuit, filed by twenty-one Republican state attorneys general, aims to block the updated regulations that ensure federal decisions get input from communities, Tribes, and climate change scientists. 

In April 2024, the Council on Environmental Quality finalized the phase II regulations that reversed many of the Trump Administration’s harmful changes to the bedrock environmental law. The updated regulations require federal agencies to consider climate and environmental justice impacts in their NEPA analyses and mandate meaningful, early consultation with impacted communities, including Tribes.  

“NEPA is critical to SUWA’s mission to protect America’s redrock wilderness. NEPA and its regulations allow SUWA and its members to engage in agency decision making, and, when necessary, to challenge harmful decisions such as fossil fuel development projects, poorly-analyzed travel management plans, and destructive vegetation treatments,” said Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Staff Attorney Hanna Larsen. “The Biden administration’s updated NEPA regulations ensure that federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management consider climate change impacts and environmentally-friendly alternatives as they go about their work. The State of Utah’s attempt to undermine these important regulations will only harm public lands, wildlife, and local communities.” 

“This partisan lawsuit is nothing more than a short-sighted attempt to silence communities that are in harm’s way and ignore both scientific and Indigenous knowledge when making federal decisions,” said Earthjustice Senior Attorney Jan Hasselman. “It’s greed over communities once again.” 

“While NEPA has historically been used to address environmental priorities, we also use it to address a project’s impact on labor, immigrant, and human rights,” said Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) Executive Director Jose Vargas. “The labor movement cares deeply about building clean energy projects quickly and efficiently. The updated NEPA provisions give us a voice in the process, help us advocate for important worker protections and environmental standards, and result in stronger, more resilient projects.” 

“NEPA is often one of the few measures environmental justice communities have to bring their concerns directly to decisionmakers,” said People’s Collective for Environmental Justice Co-Founder and Policy Analyst Andrea Vidaurre. “The Inland Empire has some of the worst air pollution in the country, and the NEPA process gives communities like mine the ability to voice our concerns, demand transparency, and hold decisionmakers accountable. Attacking the new provisions to consider environmental justice impacts would cause irreparable harm to my community and others living with the disparate impacts of polluting industries.”  

“Despite this partisan lawsuit’s claims, recognizing and integrating tribal management practices and knowledge can lead to mutual benefits for both federal and tribal governments,” said Environmental Protection Information Center Conservation Attorney Melodie Meyer, “Tribal governments and communities possess unique perspectives and knowledge that are crucial to integrate into the NEPA process. As a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, I know that if federal agencies do not consider Indigenous knowledge, they miss out on opportunities to manage resources more sustainably. Indigenous knowledge and environmental justice are legitimate concerns that must be addressed when making important decisions on consequential projects.”    

Read the state’s lawsuit.

Read the motion to intervene.

Read the client declarations on the importance of NEPA.



The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is a nonprofit organization with members and supporters from around the country dedicated to protecting America’s redrock wilderness. From offices in Moab, Salt Lake City, and Washington, DC, our team of professionals defends the redrock, organizes support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, and stewards this world-renowned landscape. Learn more at