WYOMING — President Donald Trump announced yesterday that his administration wants to expedite “outrageously slow and burdensome” approval processes on major infrastructure projects.
The move would significantly narrow the scope of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and exempt large-scale projects like mines, pipelines, and highways from being evaluated for environmental impacts. Those in support say it’s good for industry. Those opposed say it’s bad for the environment.
Wyoming Governor Mark expressed support for the move in a statement the same day.
“[NEPA] is not a platform to engage in speculative fancy, nor should it be seen as a convenient mechanism to obstruct development. Rather, the NEPA process should inform and improve proposed actions by facilitating a better understanding of the potential impacts of those actions,” Gordon said.
“As home to the nation’s first national park, we in Wyoming are particularly proud of our environment and protective of our natural resources. Wyoming has worked closely with our federal partners over the years to balance protection of the environment and opportunities for faster turnaround on decision making. States and cooperating agencies are essential partners and can deploy invaluable resources to assist this process. Wyoming stands ready to help.”
Sen. John Barrasso has also expressed support.
Critics fear the move is catastrophic for the environment and undermines government transparency.
“The Trump administration has once again put the agenda of our nation’s worst-polluting industries above the health and wellbeing of communities across the country. The changes proposed for the National Environmental Policy Act would eviscerate requirements for transparency in government that have been in place for many decades,” said Drew McConville, senior managing director of The Wilderness Society in a statement. “At a time when the climate crisis is already delivering catastrophic effects, we should not be writing a blank check for industry and our government that allows them to ignore the impacts that mining, drilling and other projects have on our clean air, water and climate.”
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