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The White House announced on Tuesday that it has finalized a new rule reinstating environmental review measures that were removed under former President Trump.
The safeguards, issued by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, modify National Environmental Policy Act regulations by requiring stricter reviews of the environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects.
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“Restoring these basic community safeguards will provide regulatory certainty, reduce conflict and help ensure projects are built right the first time,” CEQ President Brenda Mallory said in a statement. “Fixing these loopholes in the environmental review process will help projects get built faster, be more resilient, and deliver greater benefits to people who live nearby.”
The White House said the restored protections “will provide communities and decision-makers with more comprehensive information about proposed projects, their environmental and public health impacts, and their alternatives.”
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The changes announced Tuesday are the first in what the White House said is a two-phase plan “to reform and modernize” NEPA regulations.
In January 2020, Trump had called for the elimination of some NEPA regulations, in an effort to speed up the permitting process, as well as imposing stricter deadlines for the completion of environmental impact statements to so that projects can move forward more quickly.
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Trump claimed that the regulations in effect at the time “wasted money, prevented projects from starting, and took jobs away from the incredible workers of our country.”
When first signed into law by President Nixon in 1970, NEPA changed environmental oversight in the United States by requiring federal agencies to consider the impact of major projects on land and wildlife. .