Trump Signs Executive Order That Rolls Back More Obama-Era Environmental Rules

19 August, 2017, 03:16 | Author: Elaine Woods
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President Trump has signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to accelerate environmental permitting for major infrastructure projects, setting a goal to complete federal environmental reviews, permits or other approvals within two years.

Critics say there's danger in streamlining the reviews.

It required all federal agencies apply the standard to public infrastructure projects from housing to highways. "We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none".

The Trump administration has issued dozens of rules and orders to reverse Obama-era regulations addressing climate change and its consequences such as rising sea levels and more severe storms.

Manufacturers welcome today's news and have long called for federal leadership in reducing excessive red tape in the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects.

In addition, White House aides in attendance included include Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic adviser, Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser, and Reed Cordish from the Office of American Innovation.

He said highway projects can require as many as 16 approvals from nine federal agencies under 29 laws.

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The Trump administration has said it plans to release a legislative package by this fall to meet the president's pledge to invest $1 trillion to upgrade US infrastructure.

But an impromptu press conference after his infrastructure remarks quickly stepped on the message, turning into a wild, combative exchange with the press, in which Trump defended his initial response to the violent events and suggested that not all people attending the white supremacist rally were bad.

Conservative groups, which have typically been leery of massive infrastructure spending, have been urging the administration to include major permit reforms in any rebuilding package.

The council, which was supposed to have representatives from real estate, finance, labor and other sectors, was created to study and make recommendations to the president regarding the funding, support and delivery of infrastructure projects. A White House spokesperson later clarified that the panel hasn't been meeting its full potential. The president said that under his new executive order, it would take less than two years. "I actually think Democrats will go along with the infrastructure". It would not prohibit state and local agencies from using more stringent standards.

The President tried to put a focus on infrastructure earlier this year with an entire week dedicated to the topic, but that plan was overshadowed by Trump himself, who sent a series of tweets on the first day of the week about his travel ban, his Justice Department and the mayor of London and fired FBI Director James Comey the week before.

Climate change considerations included in infrastructure decisions included sea-rise concerns, and conservation groups decried the order.

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