President Donald Trump says he’s signing a new executive order “streamlining” the federal permitting process to speed up construction of transportation, water and other infrastructure projects without harming the environment.
White House officials confirmed that Trump’s order includes revoking an Obama administration executive order requiring that builders take sea level rise driven by climate change into account when constructing projects in flood plains. Trump has suggested the predicted risks from sea level rise are overblown.
The president, speaking at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York, said it can cost hundreds of millions of dollars and 17 years to approve an ordinary highway project because of burdensome regulations.
This is Trump’s second executive order aimed at streamlining infrastructure projects.
“It’s going to be quick, it’s going to be a very streamlined process,” Trump said. “And by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it. Very simple. We’re not going to approve it.”
Under Trump’s order, agencies must complete environmental reviews of projects within two years on average. Trump signed another executive order on streamlining environmental and public reviews of infrastructure projects his first week in office.
“We used to have the greatest infrastructure anywhere in the world. And today we’re like a third-world country,” Trump said, using a term referring to the economically developing nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
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