Trump looks to scale back environmental reviews for projects

Trump has made slashing government regulation a hallmark of his presidency and held it out as a way to boost jobs

President Trump will travel to Atlanta on Wednesday where he is expected to announce a new federal rule to speed up the environmental review process for proposed highways, gas pipelines and other major infrastructure.

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Critics are calling it a dismantling of a 50-year-old environmental protection law.

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The effort was first announced in January, with a two-year deadline for completing full environmental impact reviews while less comprehensive assessments would have to be completed within one year.

The White House said the final rule will promote the rebuilding of America.

Some say it is a cynical attempt to limit the public’s ability to review, comment and influence proposed projects under the National Environmental Policy Act, one of the country’s bedrock environmental protection laws.

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“This may be the single biggest giveaway to polluters in the past 40 years,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that works to save endangered species.

Trump has made slashing government regulation a hallmark of his presidency and held it out as a way to boost jobs. But environmental groups say the regulatory rollbacks threaten public health and make it harder to curb global warming.

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“The United States can’t compete and prosper if a bureaucratic system holds us back from building what we need,” Trump said when first announcing the sweeping rollback of National Environmental Policy Act rules.

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The president's trip to Georgia comes as the state has seen coronavirus cases surge and now has tallied more than 12,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.