Trump Officials To Overhaul National Environmental Policy Act

Environment: NPR
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The trump administration is expected to announce sweeping changes to one of the country's most consequential environmental laws. Today under the proposal federal agencies wouldn't have to consider climate change when approving major new projects like oil pipelines highways. We've got NPR's Jeff Brady with us to explain. Jeff Good morning tell us more about Sir this change what it is expected to do. Yeah this lies called the national environmental policy. Act It's better known by its acronym Nipah and it's been around for fifty years. It requires your special agencies to consider the environmental effects of proposed projects before approving him. Now doesn't say that the agency has to choose the least polluting option. It just says that they have to think about the environmental consequences and that gives the public the opportunity to see what the government is doing and how it arrives at its decisions and Nipah. It also gives the public a chance to a comment on those decisions and it also gives environmental groups a chance to comment over the years through a series of court decisions and as some of these issues have become more complicated The need for process has gotten long up to six years. That's because some of these big projects like a gas pipeline or big highway. They have a a lot of environmental consequences to consider. Okay so that's what the law is and what it has done previously. What's the change about? Why is it happening now? Since these these industries have long complained about The time it takes to get through the process it's expensive They want these regulations streamlined. And that's what the trump administration is proposing to do here. Some of those groups led by the. US Chamber of Commerce have long been working with the administration to rewrite the regulations. We haven't seen all the details yet but they're gonNA come out later this morning. And there are some early indications of what they've come up with one big issue is whether an agency has to consider the cumulative environmental effects of a project and think about an oil pipeline under these changes the agency would count only the environmental effects of building that pipeline environmentalists agency. You should also have to count all the oil. That's flowing through that pipeline. They argue that not doing that. Makes it very difficult plan plan for climate change so anytime you lift regulations. I mean fair to say the industry is going to be pleased with this change. Oh Yeah from early indications you can definitely say they're very pleased with this They don't like the direction that the Nipah cases have been heading in courts They've There have been some recent decisions about Oil and gas drilling on public land and about pipeline construction where judges has said that agencies must consider climate change during the process That adds all that complication. And there's another big change that we're gonNA see here Companies would be allowed to conduct their own environmental reviews Christie gold fast. She's with the Center for American progress and she was an environmental the official during the Obama Administration. Here's what she had to say about that. This is clearly a conflict of interest to just say to the company. Go ahead and and tell us what the environmental impacts are going to be. Does anyone believe that's actually going to result in information that the public can trust or that we can use is in the future to make wise decisions right. self-regulation is always sort of problematic so once these changes are announced what happens then. What president trump? He's expected to make this announcement himself at the White House later this morning. And there's GonNa be a public comment period but there's a question about whether this will ever even take place because there's is going to court challenges and then we don't know if it's GONNA become finalized before the November election alright. NPR's Jeff Brady on this news today. Jeff thank thank you for explaining it to us. We really appreciate

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