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Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

The White House has drafted a proposal, as part of President Trump's infrastructure plan, that would "scale back environmental requirements ... to make it easier to construct roads, bridges and pipelines," the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: That kind of tradeoff would be sure to complicate negotiations with Democrats, whose support Trump wants for an infrastructure plan. Administration officials are open to negotiations on certain elements in order to get it through the Senate, per the Post, but "they have made it clear they are seeking to make the most sweeping changes in decades."

  • One White House official told the Post: "Smarter regulation doesn't mean that we are abandoning our responsibility to the environment."
  • The other side, from Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association: "The administration's legislative outline...sacrifices clean air, water, the expertise of career agency staff and bedrock environmental laws."
  • Among the changes in the plan: guidelines for deciding pipeline routes, the possible construction of the southern border wall, and whether the National Park Service "could object to a development that would impair tourists' views from scenic parks," per the Post.

Go deeper

22 mins ago - World

Iran's nuclear dilemma: Ramp up now or wait for Biden

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The world is waiting to see whether Iran will strike back at Israel or the U.S. over the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran's military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Senior Iranian officials have stressed that Iran will take revenge against the perpetrators, but also respond by continuing Fakhrizadeh’s legacy — the nuclear program. The key question is whether Iran will accelerate that work now, or wait to see what President-elect Biden puts on the table.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.