President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on June 1. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday allowing agencies to accelerate infrastructure projects that may have significant environmental impact without formally weighing those potential consequences or requesting public input, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The move is based on Trump identifying the coronavirus pandemic as an economic emergency, which waives the usual rules that federal agencies follow when reviewing projects like highways and energy infrastructure.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Amy Harder: This move is inflaming America's already hyper-charged debates around environmental safeguards, the pandemic and racial discrimination in communities of color.

The big picture: The coronavirus adversely impacts people more with existing respiratory problems, which scientists say can be caused by air pollution. Communities of color are often closest to polluting facilities like oil refineries and coal plants, putting them at yet another disadvantage when it comes to the combined effects of the virus and environmental problems.

  • The administration has rolled back at least 66 environmental and climate-focused policies, with a focus on revising or repealing Obama-era rules on air pollution, drilling and infrastructure, per a New York Times analysis.

Flashback: The Environmental Protection Agency said in late March that it would not take action against power plants and other facilities that violate rules on air and water pollution or handling hazardous waste if those breaches were the result of the pandemic.

Yes, but: Some experts suggest the move is more bark than bite, and legal challenges are expected regardless.

Go deeper: Removal of EPA waterway protections set to go into effect in June

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democrats tie climate to wider agenda

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate's top Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, is throwing his weight behind an economic message that ties climate to goals around racial justice, income inequality, labor rights and a lot more.

Why it matters: The broad resolution — which includes calls for investments in low-carbon energy and infrastructure — previews Democrats' political posture if they regain the majority and have a chance to legislate.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 30,241,377 — Total deaths: 947,266— Total recoveries: 20,575,416Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 6,681,251 — Total deaths: 197,763 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 91,546,598Map.
  3. Politics: Trump vs. his own administration on virus response.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Anxious days for airline workers as mass layoffs loom

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, during a Sept. 9 protest outside the Capitol. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The clock is ticking for tens of thousands of anxious airline employees, who face mass reductions when the government's current payroll support program expires on Sept. 30.

Where it stands: Airline CEOs met Thursday with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said President Trump would support an additional $25 billion from Congress to extend the current aid package through next March.