The heads of a dozen federal agencies executed a memorandum of understanding implementing Executive Order 13807, which directed federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permitting for major infrastructure projects.
A 3-2 majority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unveiled a new policy last Friday that limits FERC’s analysis and disclosure of the environmental impacts of natural gas pipeline projects. The decision is a step backward for FERC, right when it is soliciting public comment on how to improve its pipeline project reviews.
Since the early days of his campaign for president, Donald Trump has been promising to make major investments in infrastructure. While the president has not been able to push his $1.5 trillion infrastructure package through Congress, during the past few months lawmakers have moved forward with small pieces of legislation aimed at improving infrastructure, including a water infrastructure bill that recently passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Legislation to improve infrastructure often enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, but environmental groups have been keeping a close eye on the Republican House to see whether these bills will sneak in any the president’s proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA.
Poll after poll has shown that a large segment of the electorate supported President Trump precisely because he was so unacceptable to elites. These voters believe, with some justification, that elites tune out their voices. Voting for President Trump, and supporting him despite his difficulties, is these voters’ way of demanding to be heard.
While officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico try to hammer out a new North American Free Trade Agreement, lobbyists in Washington are using the deal’s rewrite to advance a broad legislative agenda making it easier for U.S. companies to build factories, move cargo and export coal.