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Pres. Trump Waives Environmental Regulations Tied to Infrastructure Projects in Effort to Jumpstart Economic Recovery

June 9th, 2020 | by NEWCA

On June 4, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order directing federal government agencies to relax and/or waive environmental regulations as well as other actions in an effort to streamline infrastructure projects.

The hope is by eliminating government red tape they can expedite the projects and thus speed up the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 situation. The order covers multiple areas in addition to infrastructure, including “energy, environmental, and natural resources projects on Federal lands that are within the authority of each of the Secretaries to perform or to advance.”

According to the order, “alternative arrangements” to standard environmental regulations will be devised by the Council on Environmental Quality—a division of the Executive Office of the President—when necessary.

The decision has received wide support from the construction industry. “By emphasizing the need to improve our country’s crumbling infrastructure and creating additional flexibility, the construction industry will be better able to plan and execute even the most complex projects while safeguarding the health of our workforce, communities and the environment,” stated Kristen Swearingen, ABC vice president of legislative and political affairs,

Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), also signaled support: "ARTBA is supportive and believes the [executive order] will use existing statutory authority to help spur infrastructure projects during a time of national emergency," Goldstein said. He added that it is likely the order will be challenged in court.
The order effectively excuses federal agencies from complying with regulations established by laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, again, in effort to expedite projects and the hiring those projects would likely generate.

You can read the entire executive order here.

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