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Environmental Groups Skeptical After Trump Announces Deregulation

President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week to streamline the environmental review process for major building projects, including highways, bridges and pipelines.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Trump’s new order aims to reduce the time it takes to get permits approved for major infrastructure work to as little as two years. The previous environmental review process for the country's most complex projects averaged five years or less, according to an analysis from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The deregulation effort rolls back rules set by President Barack Obama in 2015, which required builders to take climate change into consideration when constructing projects in flood-prone areas, Reuters reports.

Studies by the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association and National Waterways Foundation, among others, have shown that it is not the environmental review or the permitting process that has slowed infrastructure investments, but rather a lack of funding.

Business groups like the National Association of Home Builders praised the changes, but environmental groups and legislators remain critical, warning that any money spent could be wasted on projects that will be unable to withstand the effects of rising sea levels and flooding due to climate change.