President Trump Proposes Big Changes to NEPA for Nation’s Infrastructure Needs

Trump proposes sweeping changes to NEPA
Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter
Published: Monday, February 12, 2018
President Trump today proposed big changes to the National Environmental Policy Act as part of his program to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure.
The plan, formally released this morning, includes $200 billion of new spending to be paid for by cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. Much of the proposal focuses on reforming the permitting process with a “one agency, one decision” framework for environmental reviews.
It would direct the White House Council on Environmental Quality to rewrite its NEPA guidance for the first time since 1978, with the goal of streamlining approvals. The plan would also designate a lead agency that would produce a single combined review document for each project, with a two-year deadline.
The proposal has already been panned by critics, but it marks the most detailed look yet at what the White House has in mind when it comes to reforming the environmental permitting process.
For comparison, the infrastructure outline the administration provided with last year’s budget request spanned just six pages, while the one released this morning comes in at 53.
Trump has long promised to cut down the permitting to two years or less, and the proposal delivers. That time frame is an “ambitious goal,” said Ted Boling, associate director for NEPA at CEQ.
 
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