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Trump signs order to expedite infrastructure projects by waiving approval under green laws

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 05, 2020 Published on June 05, 2020

US President Donald Trump   -  Reuters

The United States President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to waive environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects to expedite the same.

According to the order, infrastructure projects given the status of an “emergency project” can find workarounds to approvals under environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Washington Post reported.

The order is meant to further economic recovery by expediting infrastructural development. It instructs agencies to speed up federal approval for projects such as new mines, highways and pipelines.

“Agencies should take all reasonable measures to speed infrastructure investments and to speed other actions in addition to such investments that will strengthen the economy and return Americans to work,” the executive order reads, as quoted by the Verge.

However, according to experts and former EPA members, the law could do more harm than good with a significant environmental impact. It could also harm the health of people living in the neighbourhood where these projects are undertaken, making them more vulnerable to Covid-19, experts argue, according to the report.

The impact of this directive on individual projects has not been defined yet. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the President has the legal authority to enforce this order. It can be potentially challenged in a court of law, according to reports.

Apart from this, earlier this year, Trump had proposed certain changes to the National Environmental Policy Act to speed up approval for new pipelines and infrastructure. The White House is currently reviewing the proposed changes. These could be finalised within weeks, Washington Post reported.

Published on June 05, 2020
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