Jul 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump to announce revision to environmental law that protects minority communities

President Trump speaking into a microphone during a press conference
President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump is reportedly planning to announce an overhaul to a law on Wednesday that could prevent low-income and minority communities from voicing concerns about projects that could pollute their neighborhoods, The Washington Post writes.

Why it matters: Trump is expected to argue that the National Environmental Policy Act, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970, would create jobs by making it easier for his administration to build infrastructure including highways, pipelines and chemical plants. The Post notes that such projects pose major environmental threats.

  • Changes to the law are likely to restrict the extent to which these communities can evaluate, delay or stop a project based on its climate impact.
  • Trump plans to announce the changes to NEPA as part of broader effort to jumpstart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Black Americans are 75% more likely to live in neighborhoods next to sources of pollution than non-Hispanic white Americans, which in turn effects their risk for diabetes, asthma and hypertension, according to Stanford University.

What we're watching: Criticism does persist across the board suggesting that sometimes NEPA reviews go on for too long, Axios' Amy Harder notes. Expect this argument to become more heated if Joe Biden wins the presidential election. He pledged Tuesday to build trillions of dollars worth of new clean-energy infrastructure, much that would need to undergo NEPA reviews.

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