Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality has no Members at All

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The administration is required by law to have such a panel.

It would not be an overstatement to say that President Donald Trump has placed the environment at the bottom of priority list. While his administration aggressively pursues its rollback of environmental protections and climate action, other key aspects of federal environmental policy have been completely ignored. Seven months into his presidency, Trump has yet to appoint a single member to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), despite the fact that he is required by law to appoint a council to create and recommend policies to improve of the quality of the environment.

After noticing that its website showed no council members, ThinkProgress reached out to the council to ask for a list of current members. Told that this information was not available, ThinkProgress filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the current list of names. On Friday, the council’s FOIA public liaison responded to the request by noting that there were “no documents responsive to [the] request.” He explained that this is because there are currently no members of the council at all.

The National Environmental Policy Act, passed by Congress in 1969 and signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon, established the council as part of the executive office of the president. The law mandates “three members who shall be appointed by the president to serve at his pleasure, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Additionally, the law dictates that the president of the United States “shall designate one of the members of the Council to serve as Chairman,” and that each be “exceptionally well qualified to analyze and interpret environmental trends and information of all kinds; to appraise programs and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the policy set forth in title I of this Act; to be conscious of and responsive to the scientific, economic, social, aesthetic, and cultural needs and interests of the Nation; and to formulate and recommend national policies to promote the improvement of the quality of the environment.”

Language still on the council’s website states that “in enacting NEPA, Congress recognized that a variety of federal activities may affect the environment in significant ways and mandated that before federal agencies make decisions, they must consider the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment.”

The National Environmental Policy Act, passed by Congress in 1969 and signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon, established the council as part of the executive office of the president. The law mandates “three members who shall be appointed by the president to serve at his pleasure, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Additionally, the law dictates that the president of the United States “shall designate one of the members of the Council to serve as Chairman,” and that each be “exceptionally well qualified to analyze and interpret environmental trends and information of all kinds; to appraise programs and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the policy set forth in title I of this Act; to be conscious of and responsive to the scientific, economic, social, aesthetic, and cultural needs and interests of the Nation; and to formulate and recommend national policies to promote the improvement of the quality of the environment.”

Language still on the council’s website states that “in enacting NEPA, Congress recognized that a variety of federal activities may affect the environment in significant ways and mandated that before federal agencies make decisions, they must consider the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment.”

 

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress