Четверг, 14 Декабря, 2017

Trump signs order to shorten project permitting process

Ignoring Threat of Rising Seas, Trump Eliminates Flood Risk Standards Trump will revoke an Obama-era order on flood risk regulations
Frank Williams | 18 Августа, 2017, 09:25

The current standard for these government projects requires that designers factor in projections for climate change and flooding as a effect of rising sea levels and increasingly intense downpours.

The executive order requires that federal decisions for the construction of a major infrastructure project must be completed within 90 days of the issuance of a record of decision by the federal agency leading the review.

The executive order will set "a two-year goal for completion of the permitting process" but with "accountability and discipline".

Critics say there's danger in streamlining the reviews.

Trump said regulations have made the U.S. "literally like a third-world country".

"This order will put people throughout the country at risk by allowing developers to ignore potential hazards while muzzling the public's ability to weigh in on potentially harmful projects near their homes", Taurel said.

Environmental groups disputed that assessment.

Trump said that if projects are deemed to create environmental problems, they won't be approved.

"Each major infrastructure project shall have a lead federal agency, which shall be responsible for navigating the project through the federal environmental review and authorization process, including the identification of a primary federal point of contact at each federal agency", the EO states.

"We're going to get infrastructure built quickly, inexpensively, relatively speaking and the permitting process will go very, very quickly", Trump said, according to a transcript from Politico. Trump said that "no longer" would there be "one job-killing delay after another" for new projects.

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The rule gave federal agencies three options to flood-proof new infrastructure projects. In 2015, the Obama administration, by executive order, issued an update to the Federal Flood Management Program, requiring that any federal building built in a floodplain be constructed 2 to 4 feet above the 100-year flood elevation (the expected height water would rise during a once-in-100 year flood event), or to the height of the 500-year flood elevation.

"When you're on the front lines like South Florida, we know the importance of having more resilient building codes to protect our infrastructure, especially when taxpayer dollars are used", Curbelo said in a statement.

Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn praised the decision, saying retaining permits remains "one of the most significant obstacles electricity companies face". "We are going to be spending and wasting taxpayer dollars to build stuff in areas where it simply shouldn't be built".

President Trump's astonishing press conference on Tuesday was, ostensibly, an announcement about infrastructure.

He has proposed leveraging $200 billion in government spending into $1 trillion of projects to privatize the air traffic control system, strengthen rural infrastructure and fix bridges, roads and waterways.

When asked if he thought Congress could pass an infrastructure bill, Trump suggested that such a bill could pass with support from Congressional Democrats. Asked whether infrastructure could be done this year given the items ahead of it, Cohn said, "We hope it's this year". But Trump's latest rescission of an Obama-era executive order, which stipulated all government-funded projects follow strict building standards to reduce exposure to flooding, may end up costing taxpayers a lot more.

The $200 billion is the same number the White House budget director earmarked for infrastructure investment last month. He claimed that instead of taking twenty years to build a highway, under his new executive order a highway will be built in under two years. Trump's order "certainly from a national standpoint is a short-sighted step". HR 2910 calls for strengthening FERC's lead agency role and further defines the process for federal and state regulatory agencies involved in the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines.

That's particularly important for private-sector investors, who have capital available but lack enough projects and certainty about deals, Chao has said.

The action is part of a broad-based effort by the Trump administration to streamline the process for approving infrastructure projects and to roll back regulations dealing with climate change. "This is climate science denial at its most risky, as Trump is putting vulnerable communities, federal employees, and families at risk by throwing out any guarantee that our infrastructure will be safe".

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