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EPV News

EO – 1/24/17: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects

By Tom Milligan

This is President Trump’s second Executive Order.  

It seems like a long time ago when way back on January 20th, recently sworn in President Trump wrote his first Executive Order.  And even though it’s only been 4 days since that initial Order, Trump has issued six Executive Memorandums.

What’s the difference.

Not much.

If you really care to learn about orders, actions, and memorandums, here’s a great article for you.

Now back to this Order.


There are 3 relevant sections to this Order:

  1. Purpose
  2. Identification
  3. Deadlines

The first section quite succinctly states that a strong infrastructure is critical to the health of our country, that building and improving the infrastructure will create a lot of jobs and will reduce the cost of goods and services in America.

The section continues by explaining that infrastructure projects are victims of way too much bureaucratic red tape imposed by the federal government and that Trump’s Administration should make decisions with “maximum efficiency and effectiveness, while also respecting property rights and protecting public safety and the environment.”

Love it!

This first section ends with a well-written and clear policy on infrastructure:

“it is the policy of the executive branch to streamline and expedite, in a manner consistent with law, environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects, especially projects that are a high priority for the Nation, such as improving the U.S. electric grid and telecommunications systems and repairing and upgrading critical port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways.”

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Section two covers the “Identification of High Priority Infrastructure Projects.”

In short, certain infrastructure projects require federal approval and Trump wants that approval to happen quickly if the project is deemed “high priority.”

The rules are simple: If a Governor of a State, or the head of any executive department or agency (agency) requests it, the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) shall, within 30 days after the request is made, decide whether that specific infrastructure project qualifies as a “high priority” infrastructure project.

To qualify as a “high priority”, the Chairman must consider “the project’s importance to the general welfare, value to the Nation, environmental benefits, and such other factors as the Chairman deems relevant.”

So far, in this Order, we’ve learned that Trump doesn’t want the federal government to hold up important projects AND how projects will be deemed important.


Section 3 outlines what should happen with those “high priority” projects.

“the Chairman of the CEQ shall coordinate with the head of the relevant agency to establish…expedited procedures and deadlines for completion of environmental reviews and approvals for such projects.”

He finishes this section stating that if an established deadline for approval is missed, “the head of the relevant agency shall provide a written explanation to the Chairman explaining the causes for the delay and providing concrete actions taken by the agency to complete such reviews and approvals as expeditiously as possible.”


Conclusion:

I don’t know if Bannon is getting better at writing, or if this one is just so easy that even he couldn’t screw it up.  Either way, this Order makes a ton of sense.

For the first time, I really don’t have a single thing to say other than the obvious fact that Trump didn’t write this Order.


Click here to read my reviews on other Executive Actions & Orders

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