Trump infrastructure plan would loosen environmental standards: report
President Trump’s forthcoming infrastructure plan would reduce some of the environmental requirements for projects, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The Post obtained a draft plan that asks Congress to set strict deadlines for environmental reviews for bridges, pipelines and other projects, greatly restrict the ability of federal agencies to consider alternatives to projects, reduce the roles of certain agencies in the process and completely eliminate some environmental oversight processes.
It answers long-standing complaints that Republicans and various industries have had about the permitting process, which they say is overly burdensome, often duplicative and takes too long.
The plan is expected to be part of Trump’s major infrastructure proposal due to be released soon.
The White House told the Post that the document is merely an early draft, but other sources said that current discussions are pretty similar to the plan.
A White House official outlined the administration’s objectives on environmental reviews earlier this month.
“We have no intention of eroding environmental protections,” Alex Herrgott, associate director of infrastructure at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said at a conference, according to the Post. “However, there is no denying that there is duplication and redundancy in the process that is worth taking a hard look at.”
But environmentalists are suspicious. They view any attempts to change environmental laws as attacks on important protections.
“The administration’s legislative outline for infrastructure sacrifices clean air, water, the expertise of career agency staff and bedrock environmental laws,” National Parks Conservation Association President Theresa Pierno told the Post. “In short, the proposal reveals that this administration is not serious about restoring America’s infrastructure.”