January 11, 2020 | From WND
Described as his biggest deregulatory move to date, President Trump on Thursday announced a sweeping rewrite of regulations to carry out the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act that will slash the time and paperwork required to get approval for bridges, highways and other projects.
“I’ve been talking about it for a long time. The builders are not happy, nobody’s happy,” Trump said at a news conference in the White House’s Roosevelt Room.
His proposal would limit environmental assessments of new projects to no more than a year and the more comprehensive environmental-impact statement to two years.
“We’re going to have very strong regulation, but it’s going to go very quickly,” said Trump.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Trump’s proposal – which will be open for public comment for 60 days – is the biggest deregulatory step he has taken so far.
The 1970 NEPA requires the federal government to take environmental changes into account when building or funding projects such as airports and military bases. The Trump administration has argued that regulations haven’t been updated since the late 1970s.
Trump noted that infrastructure projects have been delayed endlessly by the requirement that they receive permission from numerous federal departments.
The new policy, he said, dubbed “One Federal Decision,” requires agencies “to work closely together to promptly deliver one decision.”
It took just four years, he pointed out, to build the Golden Gate Bridge, five years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year to build the Empire State Building.
“Yet, today, it can take more than 10 years just to get a permit to build a simple road,” he said.
And it’s unusual to obtain such a permit, Trump added.
“It’s big government at its absolute worst,” he said. “And other countries look at us and they can’t believe it.”
(Excerpt from WND.)