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President Trump's new infrastructure proposal will make the construction of new fossil-fuel carrying pipelines easier, as the government does away with in-depth environmental reviews. (Photo: jasonwoodhead23/Flickr/cc)

Trump Infrastructure Plan Decried as 'Scam' Designed to Keep US Stuck in 'Dirty and Destructive Past'

"This is a plan to shore up the infrastructure of the past, rather than invest in what we need for the future."

Julia Conley

Green groups were among the first to declare fierce opposition to the Trump administration's infrastructure plan released on Monday, citing concerns over the proposal's lack of regard for the environmental implications of building projects.

The plan is "nothing more than a scam to roll back environmental and health protections," said Ben Schreiber of Friends of the Earth.

An outline of the plan to streamline federal permitting processes for infrastructure projects was released last week, detailing plans for a "one agency, one decision" system. Under the plan, firm permit deadlines would be imposed as a way to hamstring environmental impact reviews and safety assessments. 

Climate campaigners say the plan will serve as a giveaway to corporations looking to bypass environmental reviews to quickly complete projects—including those that involve fossil-fuel carrying pipelines. The proposal, critics say, ignores mounting evidence that shifting the nation's focus away from oil and gas and towards renewable energy would create jobs and strengthen the economy as well as protect the environment.

"This is a climate-wrecking fossil fuel infrastructure plan that fast-tracks pipelines at the expense of frontline communities and working people," May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said in a statement. "This flies in the face of everything we know about climate science."

"This is a plan to shore up the infrastructure of the past, rather than invest in what we need for the future, such as transmission lines that connect the country's plentiful wind and solar energy to the population centers where it's needed, a modern electric grid to accommodate more renewables, and energy storage projects to set us up for a widescale roll out of this technology," added Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Greenpeace noted the disconnect between Trump's stated goal of creating jobs and his release of a plan aimed at expediting projects for an industry that employs fewer workers than the solar power sector.

"Trump's infrastructure bill is disguised as a 'jobs bill,' but it's yet another attempt by the administration to force through pipelines that threaten land, water, and Indigenous sovereignty," said Molly Dorozenski, a spokesperson for the group. "A true jobs bill would invest in clean energy and put Americans to work changing our future, not locking us into a dirty and destructive past."


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