A new infrastructure rebuilding plan released this morning by the Trump Administration puts current environmental safeguards in serious jeopardy, but it is not entirely without inroads for support of clean energy.
The legislative outline, released in a 53-page document via the White House website, would streamline the environmental review process currently in place for major infrastructure projects, establishing a “one agency, one decision” approach.
According to The Wilderness Society, the plan would “eviscerate the National Environmental Procedures Act (NEPA) by collapsing time lines, freezing out experts and delegating federal authority to states and private interests.”
The plan also would eliminate the need for congressional approval for oil and gas pipelines that cross lands administered by the National Parks Services.
Opportunities for support of energy infrastructure are included under programs for incentives, transformative projects, and rural infrastructure.
The proposed incentives program would seek to maximize investment in infrastructure, specifically attracting non-federal revenue streams and spurring development and use of new and evolving infrastructure technology. The program would be applicable to, among other things, hydropower facilities.
A transformative project program would provide federal funding for what are described as “bold, innovative, transformative infrastructure projects that could dramatically improve infrastructure.” The energy sector is included in the list of applicable areas for this program, and no specifics are provided about the types of energy that would be considered.
In addition, a rural infrastructure program would seek to improve the condition and capabilities of rural infrastructure. Eligible asset classes would include power and electric facilities for government generation, transmission and distribution facilities.
In a statement supporting the infrastructure plan, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson said:
“As the president and Congress work together to finalize an infrastructure proposal, it’s important that the package continue to focus on more than roads and bridges. A vibrant 21st century rural economy depends on expanded high speed internet access and electric grid modernization efforts.”
Lead image credit: CC0 Creative Commons | Pixabay