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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bad choices

Leaked Trump Infrastructure Plan Ripped as Thinly-Veiled 'Assault on the Environment'
louisiana GIFGreen groups reacted with alarm on Friday to a leaked Trump administration infrastructure draft that proposes a drastic rollback of environmental regulations in an attempt to expedite the construction of water-threatening oil pipelines, roads, bridges—and, of course, "the wall."

The draft also includes a provision that would "expand the government's ability to have private firms pay for the federal environmental reviews of their own projects" while also restricting the ability of federal agencies to "weigh in or block a project from going forward," the Washington Post, which first obtained the leaked proposal, reports.


Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, said in a statement late Friday that the leaked memo shows President Donald Trump is using his infrastructure push—which he has touted as a possible bipartisan effort—to further his administration's already far-reaching attack on the environment.

The proposal is little more than "deregulatory assault on our environment packaged as an infrastructure plan," Hauter argued.

"The last thing we need is to expedite pipelines that endanger our water, communities, and climate. It would perpetuate our reliance on oil and gas at a time when we must do an about face towards clean energy solutions," Hauter said. 

"We don't need to upend environmental regulations to improve our infrastructure. The memo reveals an infrastructure plan that is essentially a giveaway to corporations at the expense of the American people and our environment."

Raul Garcia, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice, similarly denounced Trump's plan as "a scam that puts dirty industries over people" in a statement on Saturday.

"President Trump's scam infrastructure plan looks to silence impacted communities by gutting bedrock community and environmental safeguards used to fix or fight pipelines that leak, bridges that collapse, highways that segregate communities, and gas wells that seep dangerous pollution near schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods," Gargia said.

While the proposal obtained by the Post is not yet fully formed, it provides a glimpse into how the Trump administration plans to proceed with what has been described as one of the president's top legislative priorities.

Theresa Pierno, president of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in an interview with the Post that the leaked draft makes abundantly clear "that this administration is not serious about restoring America's infrastructure."

"The administration's legislative outline for infrastructure sacrifices clean air, water, the expertise of career agency staff, and bedrock environmental laws," Pierno concluded.