Trump to Revamp Environmental Law to Speed Up Infrastructure Projects, Pipelines

The Trump administration is set to announce on Wednesday one of the biggest deregulatory actions of the presidents tenure in a bid to speed up major infrastructure projects like bridges, road expansions, and oil pipelines.

President Donald Trump is expected to make the announcement during a planned visit to a UPS facility in Atlanta, Georgia. The White House calendar indicates that around 3 p.m., the commander-in-chief is scheduled to deliver remarks headlined “Rebuilding of Americas Infrastructure: Faster, Better, Stronger.”

When he first announced the effort to revamp rules governing the application of the Nixon-era National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in January, Trump criticized the way agencies scrutinize new projects under NEPA as an “outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process.”

“The United States cant compete and prosper if a bureaucratic system holds us back from building what we need,” the president said when first announcing the sweeping rollback of NEPA rules.

A major proposed change in January was to set a two-year deadline for completing full environmental impact reviews while less comprehensive assessments would have to be completed within one year.

Mary Neumayr, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) told NPR that, currently, the average time for agencies to complete an environmental impact statement is four-and-a-half years.

“You spend three, four, five years on the environmental review before you ever break ground. Thats a problem,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Gray DC in an interview Tuesday.

“This proposed rule would modernize and clarify the regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by federal agencies in connection with proposals for agency action,” stated a CEQ notice of proposed action (pdf).

“CEQ has not comprehensively updated its regulations since their promulgation in 1978, more than four decades ago,” the agency said, adding that the proposed changes would “reduce paperwork and delays, and promote better decisions consistent with the national environmental policy set forth in section 1010 of NEPA.”

Epoch Times Photo Heavy equipment is seen at a site where sections of the Dakota Access pipeline were being buried near the town of St. Anthony in Morton County, N.D., on Oct. 5, 2016. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

The changes are part of a broader drive on the part of the Trump administration to accelerate upgrades to Americas infrastructure and advance the goal of energy independence. Critics argue the move limits the publics abRead More – Source