"For the first time in over 40 years today we are issuing a new rule under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to completely overhaul the dysfunctional bureaucratic system that has created these massive obstructions", Trump said at the White House on Thursday.
"While there may be ways to improve the process to both better protect the environment and provide more certainty to industry, this is simply another give-away to corporate polluters who will put profit before clean air and clean water, and the health of our communities", he said.
"That's what the president is trying to get at here", Rounds says. "Nothing compares to what Donald Trump is doing".
"The United States can not compete and thrive if a bureaucratic system prevents us from building what we need", Trump said in the White House when he announced the proposed regulatory rollback, surrounded by cabinet secretaries, industry leaders, and workers protective helmets.
It asserted that the environmental impact statement (EIS) process for federal highway projects has averaged over seven years to complete, with many taking a decade or more. "The builders are not happy". This proposal is particularly risky for frontline and vulnerable communities that have already been disproportionately exposed to pollution, such as air pollutants from nearby highways or legacy pollutants from industrial sites. "Agencies do change what they're proposing because it looks like the impacts are going to be bad". Since President Trump came to power almost three years ago, he has made it common policy to roll back environmental regulations, making it easier for industry to avoid certain checks and balances created under Obama and previous presidents.
The manufacturing industry, oil and gas producers and unions whose members work on such projects applauded the new rules, but others argued that they sacrifice the environment and undercut efforts to reduce the carbon emissions driving global warming.
Richard L. Revesz, a professor of environmental law at New York University, said he did not believe the changes would hold up in court. Should they evaluate only the effects of building the pipeline?
U.S. Sens. Maria Cantell, D-Wash., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., were quick to slam the proposal for excluding climate change as one of the environmental impacts agencies would need to consider under NEPA.
The new regulations would also decrease the number of projects subject to review altogether, NPR reported. "It's just a box the federal government has to check off", Lawrence said.
"This is a clearly a conflict of interest", Center for American Progress Senior Vice President Christy Goldfuss told NPR. The Trump administration is responding to that complaint by revising the rules the govern how the law is implemented.
Indeed, legal experts agree it may not.
VandenHeuvel said the Trump administration is trying to "gut" a fundamental right of Americans to know the impacts of government actions. But it has also been sued nearly 70 times to stop attempts at deregulation and only won four times. CEQ proposes to exclude from NEPA review non-federal projects with minimal federal funding or minimal federal involvement such that the agency cannot control the outcome on the project, reasoning that "i$3 n such circumstances, there is no practical reason for an agency to conduct a NEPA analysis because the agency could not influence the outcome of its action to address the effects of the project". "If the regulations announced today drive agencies to diminish the extent or quality of their reporting, federal courts may very well conclude that their reports do not comply with the law".
The plan will go through a public comment period before being finalized.