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January 10, 2020

Trump Targets ‘Outrageously Slow’ Environmental Reviews

Delaying infrastructure projects for a decade is no way to approach the 21st century.

President Donald Trump has made substantial progress over the years undoing some of the regulatory damage done by his predecessor. He announced his latest proposal this week — what The Wall Street Journal called “the first comprehensive overhaul of National Environmental Policy Act rules in more than 40 years.” Infrastructure is a big motivator for Trump, who said, “We want to build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways bigger, better, faster. These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground, and deny jobs to our nation’s incredible workers.”

So what is Trump aiming to do? He’s calling for a time limit on the onerous “environmental reviews” mandated by EPA regulations. These reviews average between five and seven years, but they can take more than 10 years in some cases and are to blame for needlessly delaying an estimated $1 trillion in transportation infrastructure alone. Trump is right: This is an “outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process.” He added, “The United States will not be able to compete and prosper in the 21st century if we continue to allow a broken and outdated bureaucratic system to hold us back from building what we need.”

The president proposes limiting less comprehensive reviews to one year, while bigger ones would be granted two years. “It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, five years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year — can you believe that — to build the Empire State Building,” Trump said. Surely, environmental reviews can be completed in such timeframes.

Leftists, who if they’re honest simply don’t want much new infrastructure, predictably reacted with dreadful apocalyptic warnings that grossly mischaracterize what Trump is doing. According to Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity, “Forcing federal agencies to ignore environmental threats is a disgraceful abdication of our responsibility to protect the planet for future generations.”

Unions, however, support Trump’s move. That reveals yet again the divide between blue-collar workers and Democrats, who would rather regulate jobs out of existence to “save the planet” and give the jobs that do exist to illegal aliens.

Trump has rolled back several of Obama’s ecofascist regulations and — you may want to sit down for this — our air is still breathable and our water is still drinkable.

Finally, what has Trump’s deregulation truly done? Allowed robust job creation. December job creation slowed a bit to just 145,000, down from November’s 256,000, but headline unemployment remained at the historic low of 3.5%. December marked 10 straight years of job growth, which is the longest stretch in 80 years. It’s tough to keep adding jobs at essentially full employment, but Trump is proving the American economy is quite capable.

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