President Trump on Thursday proposed a major rollback of federal environmental rules, claiming that an "outrageously slow and burdensome" system of regulations was holding the United States back from developing important infrastructure.
"The United States can't compete and prosper if a bureaucratic system holds us back from building what we need," Trump said at the White House, surrounded by Cabinet secretaries and industry leaders.
The president proposed greatly narrowing the provisions of the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act. That law, signed by Richard Nixon, mandates that federal agencies must factor in the environmental impact of any new projects. Trump's proposal would allow that review process to be circumvented for many types of undertakings.
Environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers slammed the proposed rollback as harmful. Trump, meanwhile, said:
"America's most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process. The builders are not happy. Nobody's happy.″