WASHINGTON, DC (January 29, 2017) – As reported by the Washington Post, the White House has drafted a proposal to gut environmental protections in an effort to make it easier for corporations to build dangerous pipelines and other environmentally destructive projects, forming the cornerstone of what the White House is calling an infrastructure plan. In addition:
- Earlier leaked plans indicate that the Trump administration is seeking to sell public lands off to the fossil fuel industry and other special interests in order to finance its limited spending program.
- Taken together, Trump’s proposed federal budget and this plan would actually cut existing funds and kill existing infrastructure jobs — $1.69 in cuts for every $1 in proposed spending.
- The plan would be a huge handout to Wall Street banks, whose privatization of roads, bridges, water systems and other public assets will require charging Americans big tolls and fees.
- The plan would give the Secretary of the Interior the ability to unilaterally authorize the construction of pipelines in our National Parks and public lands, rather than Congress.
In Response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“This is not a serious proposal to make the investments America’s infrastructure needs, this is a scam designed to gut clean air, water, and wildlife protections, transform public highways and bridges into privately owned toll roads, and sell off America’s public lands. “We need a plan to create good paying, family-sustaining jobs nationwide by making America a clean energy superpower and investing in public transportation, not a scam to enrich Wall Street. At its core, this proposal is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to give another massive handout to polluters at the expense of our air, water, and health.
“What’s essential is addressing the trillion-dollar elephant in the room: the fact that state and local governments remain starved of badly needed funding, effectively stalling projects before they even get off the ground. Instead, the Trump administration is attempting to exploit the situation to gut bedrock environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many more. Trump and his allies already decided what to do with the money that could fund this project when they handed it to the wealthiest people and corporations in the country.
“Americans know that improving our infrastructure doesn’t have to come at the cost of clean air and clean water. Without bedrock environmental safeguards like the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal government could rubber stamp permits for corporations to build dangerous pipelines and toxic waste dumps.
“When the administration and its Republican allies in Congress use terms like ‘streamlining’ and ‘permitting reform,’ what they are really saying is that they want to eliminate clean air and water safeguards and cut public participation when important decisions are made. We can’t let that happen.”