cloudy.png
Thursday August 6th, 2020 11:36AM

Trump looks to curb landmark environmental act for projects

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is ready to roll back a foundational Nixon-era environmental law that he says stifles infrastructure projects, but that is credited with ensuring decades of scrutiny of major projects and giving local communities a say.

Trump was traveling to Atlanta on Wednesday to formally announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act's regulations for how and when authorities must conduct environmental reviews, making it easier to build highways, pipelines, chemical plants and other projects. The 1970 law changed environmental oversight in the United States by requiring federal agencies to consider whether a project would harm the air, land, water or wildlife, and giving the public the right of review and input. The White House said the final rule will promote the rebuilding of America.

Critics call the Republican president's efforts a cynical attempt to limit the public’s ability to examine and influence proposed projects under one of the country’s bedrock environmental protection laws.

“This may be the single biggest giveaway to polluters in the past 40 years,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that works to save endangered species.

Trump has made slashing government regulation a hallmark of his presidency and held it out as a way to boost jobs. Environmental groups say the regulatory rollbacks threaten public health and make it harder to curb global warming. With Congress and the administration divided over how to increase infrastructure investment, the president is relying on his deregulation push to demonstrate progress.

“The United States can’t compete and prosper if a bureaucratic system holds us back from building what we need,” Trump said when first announcing the rollback of National Environmental Policy Act rules.

Among the major changes: limiting when federal environmental reviews of projects are mandated, and capping how long federal agencies and the public have to evaluate and comment on any environmental impact of a project.

Opponents say the change will have an inordinate impact on predominantly minority communities. More than 1 million African Americans live within a half-mile of natural gas facilities and face a cancer risk above the Environmental Protection Agency's level of concern from toxins emitted by those facilities, according to a 2017 study by the Clean Air Task Force and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

“Donald Trump is taking away the last lines of defense for front-line communities, and continues to demonstrate a total disregard for our environment and for those demanding racial and environmental justice," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Mustafa Santiago Ali, a former associate administrator in the Obama administration’s EPA environmental justice office, said Black and other minority communities “will pay with their health and ultimately with their lives” for these latest proposed rule changes.

For his announcement, Trump chose Georgia, a swing state in the general election. Trump won the Republican-leaning state by 5 percentage points in 2016, but some polls show him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. This will be Trump’s ninth trip to Georgia and his sixth visit to Atlanta during his presidency.

The president's trip also comes as the state has seen coronavirus cases surge and now has tallied more than 12,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue, said Trump’s decision to come to Georgia to discuss infrastructure as the state's coronavirus crisis worsens demonstrates that the president is “in denial and out of control.”

“Coming here for a routine photo-op is, frankly, bizarre, surreal against this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” Ossoff said.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said that if Ossoff views a major policy announcement to expedite critical infrastructure projects as anything other than about job growth and economic expansion, then it might explain why he lost a congressional race in 2017.

The White House said the administration’s efforts will expedite the expansion of Interstate 75 near Atlanta, an important freight route where traffic can often slow to a crawl. The state will create two interstate lanes designed solely for commercial trucks. The state announced last fall, before the White House unveiled its proposed rule, that it was moving up the deadline for substantially completing the project to 2028.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited a North Carolina bridge in its letter as an example of unreasonable delays, saying the bridge that connected Hatteras Island to Bodie Island took 25 years to complete, but only three years to build. “The failure to secure timely approval for projects and land management decisions is also hampering economic growth,” the business group wrote.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said that when Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act 50 years ago, it did so with the understanding that environmental well-being is compatible with economic well-being. The proposed rule, it said, would lead federal agencies to make decisions with significant environmental impacts without ever considering those impacts in advance.

“At the end of the day, it would lead to poor decision, increased litigation and less transparency,” said Sharon Buccino, a senior director at the environmental group.

Trump's trip to Georgia comes one day after Biden announced an infrastructure plan that places a heavy emphasis on improving energy efficiency in buildings and housing as well as promoting conservation efforts in the agriculture industry. In the plan, Biden pledges to spend $2 trillion over four years to promote his energy proposals.

___

Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2021 Rose Parade canceled due to coronavirus pandemic
Organizers say they have canceled the 2021 Rose Parade because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on planning for the New Year’s tradition and the risk of spreading infections
3:31PM ( 9 minutes ago )
New peak of 71K US overdose deaths in 2019 dashes hopes
Nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year
3:28PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Get ready: Motown Museum reopens after 4-month closure
The Motown Museum is back in business
3:22PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Feds bring terrorism charges in latest MS-13 gang crackdown
Federal authorities have brought terrorism charges for the first time against a leader of the notoriously violent MS-13 street gang
2:54PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Oklahoma's governor says he has tested positive for COVID-19
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is isolating at home
2:49PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Virus cases rise in U.S. states amid new world restrictions
Arizona, Texas and Florida are together reporting about 25,000 new coronavirus cases as new restrictions aimed at combating the spread of the pandemic take hold in the United States and around the world
2:45PM ( 55 minutes ago )
AP National News
In defeat, Sessions still says Trump right for the nation
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for his old Senate seat in Alabama to former college football coach Tommy Tuberville
1:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
US to hit Huawei employees with visa bans for rights abuses
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. is imposing travel bans on employees of the Chinese technology giant Huawei and other companies the U.S. determines are assisting authoritarian governments in cracking down on human rights
1:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
Floyd family sues Minneapolis officers charged in his death
Attorneys for George Floyd’s family have filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers charged in his death
1:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
In defeat, Sessions still says Trump is right for the nation
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for his old Senate seat in Alabama to former college football coach Tommy Tuberville
2:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
In Colorado, Hickenlooper outraises Gardner, lags in cash
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Senate campaign reports raising $5.2 million over the past three months and says that's a record for a Colorado Senate candidate
1:34PM ( 2 hours ago )
US warns firms about sanctions for work on Russian pipelines
The Trump administration is hardening its efforts to prevent the completion of new German-Russian and Turkish-Russian natural gas pipelines by warning companies involved in the projects they'll be subject to U.S. sanctions
12:23PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
John Hickenlooper reports $5.2 million haul in Senate bid
Democrat John Hickenlooper is reporting he raised $5.2 million last quarter in his bid for Colorado's U.S. Senate seat
9:32AM ( 6 hours ago )
Trump's former doctor wins House GOP nomination in Texas
President Donald Trump’s former White House physician has won the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Texas
9:29AM ( 6 hours ago )
McConnell: GOP virus proposal for schools, others out soon
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll begin to roll out details of the new COVID-19 relief package to senators as soon as next week
5:37AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
'We don't want them,' Mallorca says of wild-wayed tourists
Authorities in Spain’s Balearic Islands have ordered the closure of bars and nightclubs in beachfront areas popular with young and foreign visitors in hopes of curbing the spread of the coronavirus and losing a reputation as a place for hard partying
2:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Texas sets record for cases with nearly 10,800
Texas set a record for confirmed new coronavirus cases in a single day with nearly 10,800
1:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
Wall Street climbs, tentatively, with hopes for vaccine
Wall Street is rising on Wednesday with hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine
1:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
With elective procedures delayed, UnitedHealth profit spikes
The nation’s largest health insurer more than doubled its profit in the second quarter, as COVID-19 shutdowns kept patients out of doctor’s offices and off operating tables
11:00AM ( 4 hours ago )
US industrial production surges 5.4% in June
Production at America″s factories, utilities and mines surged last month, but remained well below pre-pandemic levels
10:04AM ( 5 hours ago )
Stocks up after early, encouraging results in vaccine trial
Stocks are opening broadly higher on Wall Street following encouraging news about a possible coronavirus vaccine
9:48AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
The Latest: Britain commits to virus inquiry at some point
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed to holding an “independent inquiry” into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic at some point
11:01AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Trade adviser Navarro critical of Dr. Fauci
The White House says an opinion piece by trade adviser Peter Navarro that’s critical of Dr_ Anthony Fauci is the adviser’s opinion “alone.”
9:33AM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Zimbabwe postpones reopening of schools
Zimbabwe has postponed the reopening of schools scheduled for the end of this month, citing rising numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19
8:35AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
New peak of 71K US overdose deaths in 2019 dashes hopes
Nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year
3:28PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Get ready: Motown Museum reopens after 4-month closure
The Motown Museum is back in business
3:22PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Signs that Guatemala's justice system is under attack
In Guatemala, death threats have driven two anti-corruption prosecutors from the country in the past year, and their unit’s leader has a protective order from a regional human rights commission because he is constantly harassed and threatened
3:21PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Arizona ban on evictions set to end as heat, infections soar
Housing advocacy groups have joined lawmakers in lobbying Arizona's governor to extend his coronavirus-related moratorium on evictions
3:20PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: Rose Parade canceled on New Year's Day
Organizers have canceled the Rose Parade because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on long-range planning for the New Year’s tradition
3:18PM ( 22 minutes ago )