A coalition of 27 U.S. states, commonwealths, territories, counties, and cities filed a federal lawsuit on Friday challenging the Trump administration\u0026#039;s \u0022unlawful, unjustified, and sweeping revisions\u0022 to a 50-year-old law that the president claimed would \u0022streamline\u0022 infrastructure projects by limiting environmental reviews.\u0022With today\u0026#039;s challenge, our goal is simple: preserve the public\u0026#039;s voice in government decision-making as federal projects threaten to harm the health of our families in our own backyards.\u0022—California Attorney General Xavier BecerraAfter revealing plans to alter the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in January, President Donald Trump announced what critics called \u0022reckless and unprecedented\u0022 changes during a July campaign stop. The revisions, detailed in a final rule released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), swiftly provoked legal threats from advocacy organizations.The lawsuit (pdf) filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, follows a similar challenge to the NEPA changes from national environmental groups, filed in the same court last month.\u0022NEPA is an unsung hero of environmental protection that protects our shared environment,\u0022 Ferguson said in a statement. \u0022NEPA allows our voices to inform public decisions, provides a tool for holding the government accountable, and builds transparency into the federal decision-making process to build trust.\u0022\u0022This administration\u0026#039;s insidious attack on one of our most important environmental laws is an attack on the democratic process itself,\u0022 the Washington attorney general declared. \u0022I will fight to make sure the people are heard.\u0022Becerra put the rollback and subsequent suit in the context of Trump\u0026#039;s broader deregulatory agenda targeting environmental protections and how states and local governments—often led by Democratic elected officials—have fought against it.\u0022The Trump administration has spent the better part of four years trying to roll back critical protections and undo hard-fought progress, particularly when it comes to our environment, public lands, and natural resources,\u0022 Becerra said. \u0022But we haven\u0026#039;t let this unlawful conduct go unchecked. We\u0026#039;ve fought back—and won.\u0022\u0022Today, we\u0026#039;re filing our 100th lawsuit against the Trump administration,\u0022 he noted. \u0022With today\u0026#039;s challenge, our goal is simple: preserve the public\u0026#039;s voice in government decision-making as federal projects threaten to harm the health of our families in our own backyards.\u0022The Trump Admin spent the last four years rolling back critical protections and undoing hard-fought progress, particularly for our environment.Now @RealDonaldTrump is gutting the National Environmental Policy Act—one of our bedrock environmental laws.We’re suing. pic.twitter.com/nuje513lAx— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) August 28, 2020David J. Hayes, executive director of the State Energy \u0026amp; Environmental Impact Center at New York University School of Law, said in response to the suit that \u0022state attorneys general again are stepping up, this time to stop the Trump administration from going back on the basic \u0026#039;good government\u0026#039; promise that before federal officials approve major projects, they must review potential adverse impacts, make them public, and hear the views of affected citizens.\u0022\u0022We should not need to rely on our last line of defense—state attorneys general—to enforce the rule of law,\u0022 added Hayes, former Interior Department deputy secretary in the Obama and Clinton administrations. \u0022But here we are again, needing to turn to state legal officers and the federal courts to right the latest national environmental wrongs that the Trump administration is imposing on the American people.\u0022In March, Becerra co-led a coalition of 20 attorneys general who argued in a letter that the administration\u0026#039;s proposed rule violated both NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); relied on a deficient rulemaking process; restricted the scope of impacts considered in environmental reviews; and unlawfully and without justification limited the requirement that an agency evaluate reasonable alternatives.Pretty remarkable quote from California AG @XavierBecerra on why so much of this case will be fought on procedural grounds. pic.twitter.com/9JnRO3WOVW— Rebecca Beitsch (@RebeccaBeitsch) August 28, 2020As the California attorney general\u0026#039;s office explained Friday, the lawsuit argues that the final rule violates NEPA and APA because it:is contrary to NEPA\u0026#039;s language and purpose and exceeds the Council on Environmental Quality\u0026#039;s statutory authority;is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with law; andwas promulgated without preparing an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement evaluating the rule\u0026#039;s environmental and public health impacts.As Hayes put it: \u0022The administration\u0026#039;s final NEPA rule shatters that long-standing legal promise embedded in one of our nation\u0026#039;s earliest and most important environmental laws, the National Environmental Policy Act.\u0022\u0022In particular, the final rule abandons any environmental review for broad categories of project approvals that will leave our most vulnerable citizens—including many already impacted by historic, unjust environmental harms—voiceless and at the mercy of an administration that favors industry profits over Americans\u0026#039; health and well-being,\u0022 he said. \u0022And when reviews are begrudgingly undertaken, the new rule enables officials to downplay or skip altogether serious analyses of climate impacts and health dangers associated with proposed projects and connected activities.\u0022Ferguson and Becerra were joined in the filing by the legal representatives for Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the territory of Guam, the city of New York, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Harris County, Texas.