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Trump: Proposed National Environmental Policy Act

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President Trump spoke about an overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Trump was Monday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

“Good morning, everyone.

Today, we’re taking another historic step in our campaign to slash job-killing regulations and improve the quality of life for all of our citizens.

In the past, many America’s — of America’s most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process. And I’ve been talking about it for a long time — where it takes many, many years to get something built — get something built — done in any way. The builders are not happy. Nobody is happy. It takes 20 years. It takes 30 years. It take numbers that nobody would even believe.

These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground, and deny jobs to our nation’s incredible workers.

From day one, my administration has made fixing this regulatory nightmare a top priority. And we want to build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways bigger, better, faster, and we want to build them at less cost.

That is why, for the first time in over 40 years, today we are issuing a proposed new rule under the National Environmental Policy Act to completely overhaul the dysfunctional bureaucratic system that has created these massive obstructions. Now, we’re going to have very strong regulation, but it’s going to go very quickly. And if it doesn’t pass, it’s going to not pass quickly. It doesn’t have to take 10 years or much longer than that.

These proposed reforms will reduce traffic in our cities, connect our rural communities, and get Americans where they need to go more quickly and more safely.

We’re pleased to be joined by Secretary David Bernhardt, Secretary Elaine Chao, Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Mary Neumayr. They’ve done a fantastic job on this.

Also with us are representatives of the American workers from across the country, including President of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, Sean McGarvey; President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Jennifer Houston; President of the American Trucking Associations, Chris Spear; and many other leaders of labor and industry.

America is a nation of builders. It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, five years to build the Hoover Dam, and less than one year — can you believe that? — to build the Empire State Building. Yet today, it can take more than 10 years just to get a permit to build a simple road — just a very simple road. And usually, you’re not even able to get the permit. It’s unusual when you get it. It’s big government at its absolute worst, and other countries look at us and they can’t believe it.

For example, in North Carolina, it took 25 years to begin construction of the Marc Basnight Bridge. In Alaska, improvements on a 15-mile stretch of Sterling Highway — the only road connecting local communities to the rest of the state, and a very dangerous area — it’s been delayed for over 15 years, but we’re getting it started. In Washington State, it took two decades to finish environmental reviews for the runway at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Think of that. It takes decades.

The United States will not be able to compete and prosper in the 21st century if we continue to allow a broken and outdated bureaucratic system hold us back from building what we need: the roads, the airports, the schools, everything.

Right now, it takes over seven years, and oftentimes much longer — and seven years is like record time — to complete approvals for a simple highway — the simplest of them. With today’s proposed reforms, we will reduce that number by more than 70 percent.

We’ll cut the federal permitting timeline for major projects down to two years. And ideally, we’re going to try and get even less than that. So you’ll be — instead of 21, 22, 25, 8, 9, 12, 15 — we’re going to get it down to 2 years and maybe less, with strong regulation, especially environmental and safety regulation. But we’ll get it down to a very low number. And we’re going to do it fast. We’re doing it with a rule change that just is being signed.

In the past, those seeking infrastructure permits have had to go to numerous federal departments all over — numerous. And numerous means many, many. Sometimes you get the same exact change, but you had to get them from different departments. So you would go to these federal departments and agencies requesting approval from countless governmental bureaucrats, each of whom was empowered to hold up the process and leave urgently needed projects in limbo, and for the most part they wouldn’t get built. If they did get built, it would take so many years and cost many times more.

But our new One Federal Decision policy — it’s called “One Federal Decision” — requires agencies to work closely together to promptly deliver one decision. Yes. The entire process will be completed; the entire federal government approval process will be done.

We’re also cutting red tape by allowing federal departments to increase the use of documentation prepared by state, tribal, and local governments. This is just common sense and there’s no need to do all of the duplicate work. There’s so much duplication. You’d go for a permit. You’d have to go for another permit. They were all — they would turn out to be all the same permits; you’re just going to different agencies to get the same approval.

At the same time, we’re maintaining America’s world-class standards of environmental protection. We have some of the cleanest air and cleanest water on Earth. And for our country, the air is, right now, cleaner than it’s been in 40 years. I guess you go before that, there was a lot less activity. So we’re competing — I would imagine, 200 years ago, it was great. (Laughter.) Five hundred years ago, before we got here, it must have been really nice, right? (Laughter.) But in the last 40 years, it’s the cleanest right now.

By streamlining infrastructure approvals, we’ll further expand America’s unprecedented economic boom. And that’s what we have: we have an economic boom.

We’ve created 7 million jobs, including over 700,000 construction jobs. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over 51 years.

After years of stagnation, real wages have increased nearly 10 percent for low-income workers — the biggest beneficiaries. Our regulation cuts are giving the average American household an extra $3,000 per year. And if you look at the tax cuts and all of the other cuts, it’s close to $10,000 a year — with all of the cuts that we’re getting. And that’s for an average median-income family — $10,000.

You know, I’ve talked about past administrations — the one was $475, and the other one was $975 — the last two, $975. And we’re $10,000, and the number is actually higher that — than that, if you include certain regulations that we got cut. So that’s an amazing thing, and that’s one of the reasons consumers are doing so well and leading us so strongly in this boom that we’re in.

But this is just the beginning. We’ll not stop until our nation’s gleaming new infrastructure has made America the envy of the world again. It used to be the envy of the world, and now we’re like a third-world country. It’s really sad. You get approval — they even get financing for jobs, and then they can’t build them for 15 years, and then it ends up costing five times more than it was supposed to cost.

Thank you very much.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.

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