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CEO DATELINE – Trade groups applaud proposed rollback of environmental rules

Jan. 10, 2020

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading a new coalition to push for big changes in how infrastructure projects get permits under a 50-year-old environmental law. The “Unlock American Investment” coalition launched its website Jan. 9, the same day President Donald Trump announced proposed rules aimed at limiting the scope of environmental assessments and setting deadlines for completing the reviews.

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A number of trade group CEOs and representatives attended Trump’s announcement at the White House, including Associated Builders and Contractors CEO Mike Bellaman, National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons, American Road & Transportation Builders Association CEO Dave Bauer, and National Association of Home Builders CEO Jerry Howard. 

“We welcome any NEPA reforms that streamline the regulatory process and reduce unnecessary costs and delays,” Howard said in a news statement.

The coalition website lists three dozen trade groups, as well as the North America’s Building Trades Union.

Critics say the proposed changes will hinder the public’s ability to assess the environmental consequences of a project, as well as eliminate consideration of the long-term impact on global warming.  A fact sheet from the Partnership Project—a coalition of environmental advocacy groups—states that speeding up federal permitting will not address the tremendous gap in government funding for infrastructure projects.