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President Trump announces rollbacks to 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act

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Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - President Donald Trump announced rollbacks to one of the biggest environmental protection laws in the country.

The president said he’s modernizing the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act. Opponents of the move, however, say this will leave them out of infrastructure conversations.

Trump said deregulation will speed up infrastructure construction projects for highways and pipelines. He said this move will make construction permits more accessible.

“It simply shouldn’t take longer to get government approval for a project than it takes to actually build the project,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

The changes will decrease the number of projects that are subject to environmental review and set hard a hard deadline review time of two years.

“That’s important so that we can make those investments, move forward, and build new, modern infrastructure,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

The changes would also reduce requirements for federal agencies to consider a project’s potential environmental impact.

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., responded to the ruling, saying, “Our roads, pipelines, flood protection, and other critical infrastructure deserve a timely, efficient, and effective environmental review.”

Although North Dakota lawmakers say the changes will benefit state projects, some communities, like those living on the Standing Rock reservation, are concerned the changes could lessen their input on projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“The Army Corps of Engineers had permitted a process without taking our concerns or considerations into place,” said former chairman David Archambault II.

Environmental groups plan to challenge the changes.

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