Trumps proposal to remove environmental barriers from infrastructure plans
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
It may seem that President Trump is signing the Earths death warrant as he allows federal agencies to ignore environmental impact when measuring infrastructure projects.
The National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa) required federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of their infrastructure projects. The assessment is defined as follows "the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made"
Under Nepa, the people are given the opportunity to comment on the plans, with them being made public and so in removing this policy, the right to present opinion is being removed with it.
So what will removing this policy accomplish from Trumps viewpoint?
The removal of the policy will speed up approvals as the environmental 'barrier' is removed, and proposals regarding major development, oil and gas pipelines and highway construction will no longer be accounted for environmentally.
It is a freedom given to those motivated by greed. This is notable from the letter sent to the administration officials at the end of 2019, stating that these changes to Nepa would boost the economy. The letter was produced by a collection of major industry factions; including The American Petroleum Institute.
The Trump Administration was denied opportunity to restart coal leasing on public land as the environmental impact was not assessed sufficiently, this change will now remove the barrier that is halting his development plans.
Many of Trumps attempts to increase mining for fuels on public land have been blocked by the current law.
An official spokesperson for President Trump stated "Climate change is no longer a top priority for these reviews."
The removal of environmental impact from review means resubmitting a review policy. Whilst these changes are being made there is potential to challenge it, leaving some hope and opportunity to take action.
Thanks for reading,
The Climate Corner