The Trump administration’s proposed overhaul of regulations for federal environmental reviews poses a significant and needless threat to efforts to make the nation’s communities safer and more resilient. By eliminating the consideration of the cumulative impact of projects on climate change, these rules would make projects more expensive to taxpayers while making people and property more vulnerable.
Americans need not choose between effective infrastructure development and resiliency. That is a false choice. Far from expediting projects, the proposed approach would only add cost, uncertainty, and risk. We share the goal of making project reviews timelier and more efficient. This can be achieved while maintaining the ability to make thoughtful, informed decisions that don’t saddle taxpayers with repeated disaster and rebuilding costs and escalating climate impacts.
As organizations representing more than 60,000 professionals responsible for helping residents and officials make smart decisions about the resiliency and long-term prosperity of their communities, APA and ASFPM urge the Trump administration to take a different course — one that supports state and local innovation in evaluating the impact of development projects and adequately protects the public from the fiscal, environmental, and health consequences of climate change and natural disasters.
Our organizations are committed to helping states and communities make good infrastructure and development decisions that benefit everyone. In support of this goal, we have just released a research report — Planning for Infrastructure Resilience — that provides guidance on innovative local approaches that balance public protection with efficiency. The initiatives cited in the report demand a good federal partnership that does not create greater risk and raise costs through faulty regulatory structures that fail to account for climate impacts.
Ignoring the future impact of climate change as part of the nation’s core environmental review law will only increase costs of development and future disaster recovery on taxpayers and communities, while making us all more vulnerable to its already apparent effects.