California Challenges Trump Plan to Ease Review of Climate Impacts

1 min
A construction worker moves a piece of concrete with a crane on the first phase of the Exposition Light Rail Transit Line (Expo Line) that connects downtown Los Angeles and Culver City on July 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Another day, another environmental policy skirmish.

California, 17 other states, and Washington, D.C. today challenged a Trump administration plan to limit climate change analysis for major energy and infrastructure projects.

In a statement emailed to reporters, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called Trump’s plan “reckless” and said it “leads agencies to ignore the climate crisis, the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

“We’re reminding President Trump once again: if you try to backslide on the safeguards protecting our nation’s environment and put polluters in the driver’s seat, we will hold you accountable,” he said.

In June, the White House floated new environmental review guidelines for federal projects like gas pipelines and highways. The draft guidance on consideration of greenhouse gas emissions under the National Environmental Policy Act doesn’t mention climate change or global warming.

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Critics of the draft say the Trump administration seeks to downplay climate change and warming as it approves infrastructure projects.

The changes would ease regulations, and the administration says they’d allow for faster permitting.

It’s been two years since President Trump rescinded an Obama-era rule that required agencies to study and quantify planet-warming gas emissions as part of their decision-making process.

The coalition this morning released its comment letter, which argues that the proposal encourages agencies to violate federal environmental rules.

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