Biden's Rollback of Trump-Era EPA Rule Will Add Years to Some Projects and Double Costs
Have you ever met an environmentalist who recommended the repeal of any rule or any law having to do with the environment?
Not one rule should be rescinded. Not one dime should be cut from the EPA budget. Not one word should be spoken against the sacred calling of saving our planet from … whatever is bugging the greens this week.
Related: How Big Is This SCOTUS Case About EPA’s Svengali-Like Powers? Huge.
Trump changed rules governing the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The changes were designed to substantially speed up the permitting process — and they did.
Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to change the rules. In addition to slowing down construction on regular infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, the changes to NEPA made by the Biden administration will also affect other projects — specifically power-related projects crucial to America’s energy independence.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is finalizing its “phase 1” changes to NEPA, and what’s emerging is worse than feared.
In its 2020 NEPA regulatory rewrite, the Trump administration got rid of explicit requirements to consider an action’s “indirect” effects — those that happen later on or further removed, but are still reasonably foreseeable.
It also got rid of the explicit requirement to consider its “cumulative” effects, which refers to how a project’s pollution may interact with other pollution sources to make some areas particularly polluted.
Critics raised concerns about the impact of this change on communities that already face disproportionate pollution burdens and argued it could hinder the government’s ability to consider the effects of climate change.
How about the impact on communities that would benefit hugely from a local infrastructure project? Too bad for them. The rule changes Biden has in mind would slow many projects to a snail’s pace. Instead of taking a few months for a review of a project’s environmental impact, it will now take up to four and a half years for the review to be complete.
The administration also said that it would establish that the NEPA regulations are “a floor, rather than a ceiling,” when it comes to standards for environmental reviews.
NEPA is a more than 50-year-old law that requires the government to consider environmental and community concerns before it approves various types of infrastructure projects, which can also include airports and buildings.
Many industries have pushed for its requirements to be loosened, noting that environmental reviews can take years and slow projects down.
That doesn’t matter to the hysterical greens who see the end of the world with every shovelful of dirt.
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