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"Yet Another Handout to the Dirty Fossil Fuel Industry": Trump's Newest Assault on Environment Draws Anger From Green Groups

"This is a massive abuse of power that does nothing other than line the pockets of Trump's fossil fuel billionaire friends, all at the expense of our democracy and our safety."

Pipelines in New Mexico.

Pipelines in New Mexico. (Photo: Forest Guardians, Wikimedia Commons)

Donald Trump's war on the environment will continue Wednesday as the president aims to make it easier to build pipelines—angering environmental groups. 

An executive order designed to loosen regulations around pipeline construction and ensure the country continues to rely on fossil fuels for its energy needs is expected to be announced by the president during a visit to Texas Wednesday. 

The order will allow Trump—and any of his successors—to be the decider on pipeline project approvals, currently the responsibility of the secretary of state due to the cross-border nature of the infrastructure. 

Trump is also expected to announce an executive order streamlining the permitting process for infrastructure projects, a thorn in the side of energy giants that are frequently stymied by state resistance.

"So much for the virtues of federalism," said Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell. 

Environmental groups reacted to the news of the order with anger and disappointment. 

"This is a disastrous idea, one that exposes the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and threatens to undercut the ability of state leaders to determine how best to protect their rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands," the Natural Resources Defense Council told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

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The anger continued on Wednesday in advance of the expected announcement. 

"This is yet another example of this [administration] lining polluters' pockets while the burden of dirtier air and polluted water is placed on the American people," said green advocacy group Friends of the Earth in a tweet. 

Friends of the Earth added in a statement Wednesday that Trump's decision to make the announcement in Crosby, Texas—which, as Common Dreams reported Monday, was the site of a chemical plant explosion just last week—only added to the president's dismissive approach to the victims of his environmental policies.

"These directives are yet another handout to the dirty fossil fuel industry at the expense of our public health and the environment," the group said. "Making this announcement in Crosby, weeks after a deadly chemical plant explosion, underscores Trump's complete disregard for the safety of the American people."

Environmental organization 350.org added to the fray, calling for a more robust opposition to the administration's assault on the planet. 

"This is a massive abuse of power that does nothing other than line the pockets of Trump's fossil fuel billionaire friends, all at the expense of our democracy and our safety," said the group's executive director, May Boeve, in a statement. "Trump can try to rewrite regulations in favor of Big Oil, but he can't stop people power and our movement."

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