The White House has announced the rollback of a handful of environmental laws that President Trump has characterized as the “single biggest obstacle” to the building of new construction projects.
The President’s directive is designed to shorten environmental review processes that some construction industry officials have said can take years to complete, adding, in the process, to the cost of a given project.
Those reviews apply specifically to projects proposed on federal lands, which usually means projects pertaining to bridge, highway, and pipeline work.
The new policy will shrink what can be a four and a half year process to no more than two years.
At the same time, as announced by the President, the rollback will do away with climate change considerations as part of a project’s review procedure.
The President earlier said that construction industry leaders had told him that the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act had become too cumbersome for companies to navigate.
Many of those leaders also said they had little opportunity to be a part of the environmental impact review process, claiming that decisions halting a project were sometimes arrived at arbitrarily.
In announcing the rollback, Trump said it was evidence of his administration’s “fierce commitment to slashing the web of needless bureaucracy that is holding back our citizens.”
The President added: “I’ve been wanting to do this from day one.”
Streamlining the review process has won the support of such industry groups as the Associated General Contractors of America.
But the move has also been opposed by an array of environmental and conservation groups.
In a statement, the Center for Biological Diversity said the President’s policy “drastically curtails environmental reviews for thousands of federal agency projects nationwide, a move that will weaken safeguard for air, water, wildlife and public lands.”
By Garry Boulard
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