New Trump administration rule could speed up infrastructure, but impact climate

WASHINGTON -- President Trump is proposing a change to a 50-year-old law designed to protect the environment.

“The United States will not be able to compete and prosper in the 21st Century if we continue to allow a broken and outdated bureaucratic system hold us back from building what we need,” President Trump said Thursday.

President Trump wants to limit how long projects can be under environmental review.

He hopes the change will speed up efforts to fix American’s roadways, airports, and bridges.

“This effort if these regulations are finalized might be the biggest improvement in government decision making in over a generation,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said.

Bernhardt said the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act is ready for an update.

“We’re just trying to do things in a way that is a little smarter, a little clearer and a little quicker, and I think it is really a big step forward.”

Secretary Bernhardt said this will speed up new projects that have been delayed.

But other groups said without the safeguards protections for the environment and public health could be at risk.

“Federal decision-makers should look before they leap when it comes to large projects and infrastructure,” Mike Saccone, Spokesperson for the National Wildlife Federation said.

Saccone said there’s a reason for a long review process and worries about the new rules’ impact on climate change.

“At a time when we’re seeing record wildfires, floods and other climate-fueled disasters it simply doesn’t add up to take climate out of the equation for federal decision-makers.”

The new rule isn’t finalized and will be subject to 60 days of public comment.