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Unused pipe for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline sits outside Gascoyne, North Dakota in 2014. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A new Trump administration proposal aims to weaken the National Environmental Policy Act, which would make infrastructure and fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline easier to accomplish, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: The proposed revision would allow agencies to ignore "cumulative" consequences of major infrastructure projects — which courts have interpreted as weighing a project's impact on climate change.

Details: The law in question is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which Congress first passed in 1970. It dictates the government's environmental reviews of major infrastructure and energy projects.

  • A government official "who has seen the proposed regulation but was not authorized to speak about it publicly" told the Times that the Trump administration also plans to narrow the scope of which projects require environmental review.
  • "That could make it likely that more projects will sail through the approval process without having to disclose plans to do things like discharge waste, cut trees or increase air pollution," the NYT's Lisa Friedman writes.

What to watch: Final action on the matter is expected before November's presidential election, per the Times.

Between the lines, via Axios' Amy Harder: Global warming, along with other environmental issues, could get short shrift with the change, but big changes in the law would likely require congressional approval, like the original law itself.

Go deeper: EPA's Trump-appointed scientific advisers criticize new proposals

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Both chambers of Congress on Thursday voted to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the path to confirmation for President Biden's nominee for defense secretary.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

McConnell to propose February impeachment trial

Sen. Mitch McConnell Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to propose later today that the impeachment trial of former President Trump begin in February to allow for due process, two sources familiar with the proposal tell Axios.

Why it matters: The impeachment trial is likely to grind other Senate business to a halt, including the confirmation process for President Biden's Cabinet nominees.