Climbers and Backcountry Skiers are taking the Trump administration to court to defend NEPA


The Winter Wildlands Alliance and the American Alpine Club joined forces with 20 other conservation and environmental justice organizations to sue the Trump Administration and stop it’s evisceration of the National Environmental Policy Act.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ensures federal decision making is transparent,
scientifically informed and that the public has an opportunity to share their expertise and
concerns. It’s a bedrock environmental law that requires Federal agencies to engage in a
project review process to identify the environmental, cultural, economic, and health impacts of a
project, as well as offering alternatives to the plan before a decision is made.

“Mountain regions are warming at roughly twice the pace of the global average, and climbers
and skiers see these changes every time we go into the mountains. Now, the Trump
Administration has decided federal agencies can’t even consider how their decisions will affect
the climate. We’re suing the Administration to force the government to consider climate impacts
before approving development projects.” says Taylor Luneau, policy manager at the American
Alpine Club.

For the past 50 years, NEPA has put the environment on even footing with commercial interests
in government decision-making and moved us towards a healthier planet. From public lands to
public health, NEPA has made this country a better place. But, on July 15, 2020, President
Trump announced major policy changes gutting the National Environmental Policy Act.
“The National Environmental Policy Act gives every American a voice in how public lands are
managed. If you’ve ever sent a letter to the Forest Service, Park Service, or Bureau of Land
Management, weighing in on a project, you were able to do that because of NEPA” says Hilary
Eisen, policy director at Winter Wildlands Alliance. “These policy changes dramatically
re-interpret the law to sideline the public and prioritize corporate interests over environmental
protection” Eisen added.

These policy changes mark a significant departure from how the government has previously
interpreted NEPA. Rather than prioritizing transparency, science-based decision making, and
environmental protection, the regulations announced by President Trump on July 15 limit public
participation, restrict the scope of environmental analyses, and are wholly intended to fast-track
approval for development and infrastructure projects. These policy changes raise major
concerns not only for the protection of public lands and outdoor recreation, but for the health
and well-being of communities across the country who rely on clean air, water and a healthy

To learn more, join Hilary Eisen, policy director for Winter Wildlands Alliance, and Taylor
Luneau, policy manager for the American Alpine Club, along with Susan Jane Brown, staff
attorney at Western Environmental Law Center, for a webinar at 6pm Mountain on August 11.
Register online at


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