Policy Update Mar 2, 2021

NPCA position on the nomination of Brenda Mallory as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality

NPCA sent the following letter of support to the United States Senate ahead of the hearing to consider the nomination of Brenda Mallory as Chair of CEQ. 

Our national parks are symbols of conservation, historic preservation and our shared heritage. In the last four years, as we witnessed weakened protection for cultural resources, wildlife, waterways and the list goes on, the highest level of protection was not afforded to these incredible places. We can and must do better. The Biden-Harris Administration must address climate change head-on, ensure the federal government – and the park system – is welcoming to diverse communities, and reverse damaging policies that put at risk the water, air, wildlife and other resources that make our parks world-renowned.

Brenda Mallory comes to this nomination with nearly four decades of environmental policy expertise. Her previous federal experience, both at the Environmental Protection Agency and later as General Counsel at CEQ, have uniquely prepared her to advance and implement regulatory reforms and policies that will protect America’s parks and communities around the country for generations to come. Throughout her career, Mallory has placed consistent emphasis on the relationship between conservation efforts and public health. This experience will position CEQ to immediately begin the necessary work of advancing President Biden’s environmental justice priorities. These advancements do not happen without extensive public engagement. Mallory has demonstrated consistent capacity to listen to, and work with, Americans of varying backgrounds and political persuasions to advance environmental protections.

Of special responsibility to CEQ is the coordination of environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects, which often impact the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities. These environmental reviews, undertaken through the mandate established by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), are bedrock conservation tools that guarantee certain protections to our public lands and national parks. The National Park Service utilizes NEPA to protect coral reefs and fish habitat, to reintroduce species that were once native, to build infrastructure with minimal damage to natural and cultural resources, and reduce pollution and overcrowding as parks manage visitation. As the Biden Administration works to build back a prosperous and just economy, Brenda Mallory’s demonstrated leadership and technical expertise will allow CEQ to guide this critical work while ensuring vulnerable landscapes and communities get the necessary protections to thrive long into the future.

We look forward to working with Brenda Mallory to ensure the best future for our national parks and urge the Senate to swiftly confirm this qualified nominee.