Trump to Sign Executive Order Expediting Projects Subject to Environmental Reviews | Politics

Trump to Sign Executive Order Expediting Projects Subject to Environmental Reviews | Politics

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday to expedite permitting for infrastructure projects with the aim of giving the economy a boost amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new order, Trump will be citing an economic emergency in order to waive environmental requirements for projects like highways and pipelines, according to The Washington Post.

Waiving the requirements will “expedite construction of highways and other projects designed for environmental, energy, transportation, natural resource, and other uses,” one official told the Post in an email.

Cartoons on President Donald Trump

The move comes after Trump last month signed an order to give federal agencies “tremendous power” to cut regulations that they deem as hampering an economic recovery.

Trump has regularly targeted environmental regulations during his presidency. In January, the administration proposed the first major change to the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, in roughly four decades to ease the permitting process for infrastructure projects.

The potential move is already drawing criticism from House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva.

“NEPA is a public health law as well as an environmental law, and as we’ve seen time and time again, this administration considers public health and environmental laws nothing more than roadblocks to their anti-environmental agenda,” Grijalva said in a statement.

The Arizona Democrat said targeting the law could make it difficult for communities of color to speak out against proposals in their area if public input on the projects isn’t required.

“Today President Trump is dealing another blow to the Black community, during a worldwide pandemic and nearly a week into nationwide Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and structural racism,” he said.

Environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, have accused the president of taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to push his agenda.

“It’s despicable that the Trump administration is exploiting the pandemic to cripple crucial protections against the pollution of our air, water and public lands,” Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the center, said in a statement. “As COVID-19 suffocates our citizens, this cruel order greenlights a lethal free-for-all on air pollution and other environmental harms.”

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