Washington – With the latest reversal of the environmental rollback in the Trump era, President Joe Biden is reviving federal rules that guide environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects like highways and pipelines. The review was cut short by the Trump administration to speed up the project.
The White House Environmental Quality Council said on Wednesday it would revive key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. It is a basic environmental law designed to ensure the safety of the community during environmental reviews for a wide range of federal projects and decisions.
Former President Donald Trump last year reviewed rules to boost the economy and accelerate projects he said would create jobs.
Trump has characterized the president by drastically reducing government regulation. He and his administration often complained about the rules, saying they unnecessarily delay the approval of interstate oil and gas pipelines and other large projects. Changes to regulations imposed last year restricted timelines for environmental reviews and public comments, allowing federal officials to ignore the project’s role in cumulative impacts such as climate change.
The White House said in a statement that the 2020 changes created implementation challenges for federal agencies and “caused confusion among stakeholders and the general public.” The changes proposed Wednesday will restore regulatory certainty and “help ensure that America’s infrastructure is built properly first and will bring real benefits to those living nearby rather than harm.” said Brenda Mallory, president of the Environmental Quality Council.
Contrary to the Trump administration’s allegations, Mallory and other White House officials said the new rules actually accelerate the completion of major projects, as the rigorous review is likely to lead to legal challenges by environmental groups and states. said. Many environmental decisions of the Trump era were overturned or postponed by the courts as they were analyzed.
Environmental groups and African-American, Latin-American and tribal activists protested the change in rules during the Trump era, increasing pollution from oil refineries, chemical plants and other dangerous places in areas already visited. I said that I would let you go. The 1970 environmental law, known as NEPA, is praised for providing a platform for poor communities to negotiate major projects with government regulators and large corporations.
“The National Environmental Policy Act ensures that federal project managers look ahead and listen to experts and the general public about the potential impact of projects on people and wildlife. “This is important to us,” said Mustafa Santiagori, vice president of climate and environmental justice. “This proposed rule will help the previous administration restore some of the basic NEPA protections that were taken away from the forgery of the NEPA process,” it said.
West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a top Republican member of the Senate Environment Committee, said the rule change “returns unnecessary bureaucratic formality to the building infrastructure.” As I said before, if you can’t build at all, you can’t “build better”. ”
Capito’s comments rebuild the country’s infrastructure, including a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate and a number of projects approved under a more ambitious democracy-only bill to address climate change. Biden’s frequently recurring pledge was cited as another priority.
Rosalie Vin, senior counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, said the new rules would allow government agencies to consider climate change and other cumulative impacts when considering major infrastructure projects.
The Environmental Defense Fund was one of the environmental groups that challenged the Trump-era rules in court. These proceedings are currently pending.
Win said he agreed with the White House that by following proper NEPA guidelines, the final project could move forward rapidly.
“It was undoubtedly observed during the Trump administration that we did not comply with requirements under NEPA and other laws. The new proposal was to “re-establish NEPA safeguards and the federal government in industry.” The first step is to take into account the project’s impact on climate and environmental justice.”
The Environmental Quality Council will accept comments by the end of November. The rule change will be final early next year.
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