Friday, 26 February, 2021


Environmental policy changes could speed project reviews in Louisiana

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event to announce his administration's proposed new environmental policies on Thursday.  Environmental policy changes could speed project reviews in Louisiana
Kristine Garrett | 12 January, 2020, 20:37

"By streamlining infrastructure approvals, we'll further expand America's unprecedented economic boom".

President Donald Trump plans to announce the proposal at the White House at 16:00 GMT.

One of the most important proposed changes is one that would restrict the federal government's obligation to carry out environmental assessments to projects with substantial federal funding.

"Regulatory hurdles under NEPA have triggered reliability problems and forced electric co-ops and their communities to endure costly project delays", said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. "Streamlining NEPA will remove bureaucratic barriers that have hindered the types of infrastructure for the United States to deliver energy in a safe and environmentally protective way".

The proposed rule announced by the White House's Council on Environmental Quality on Thursday would be the first major shift to implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act in four decades and is meant to streamline the federal environmental review process by allowing the government to approve pipelines and highways at a more efficient clip. "This proposal does nothing to take away from the protections for our citizens, for our taxpayers, for our workers or for our environment". "NEPA is good policy, and it's wrong to weaken it". It also says that agencies would be allowed to establish procedures for adopting another agency's determinations to increase efficiency, and that the rule would improve collaboration with state, local, and tribal governments.

Trump cited bridge, highway and airport runway projects in North Carolina, Alaska and Washington that were held up more than a decade due to environmental reviews that required a host of red tape and duplicative permits. "We look forward to continued conversations with our partners in government to advance the NEPA modernization process".

As President Donald Trump said in a message on NEPA's anniversary, "While the goals of NEPA remain the same as they did 50 years ago, the environmental review process created to improve decision making has become increasingly complex and hard to navigate". She was a former managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) during the Obama administration. "This NEPA rewrite favors big polluters and corporate profits over balanced, science-based decision-making and would prevent Washingtonians from voicing their views".

"On New Year's Day, President Trump observed the 50th anniversary of NEPA with a presidential message - but rather than actually paying tribute to the enduring legacy of this bedrock law, President Trump was merely paying lip service". The Trump administration is responding to that complaint by revising the rules the govern how the law is implemented.

Rounds says infrastructure projects-like rebuilding a road or bridge in the same location-sometimes go through large amounts of paperwork before getting approval.

Under the new proposal, federal permitting agencies and regulators would not be obliged to assess and factor in the impact on climate of major infrastructure projects, including oil pipelines. It is like putting permanent blinders on, and ignoring reality when deciding whether to build a project. We should not be giving self-graded take home exams to polluting companies.

The proposal will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, followed by a period of 60 days for public comment. Congress said at the time that the nation was "fulfilling each generation's responsibility as an environmental trustee for future generations". Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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