Trump weakens building standards for federally supported projects in flood-zones

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House

Describing the nation's deteriorating infrastructure as a "massive, self-inflicted wound on our country", President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order created to help speed the completion of major infrastructure projects nationwide.

Obama's order required all federal agencies to apply risk-management standards to public infrastructure projects, but did not regulate private development.

Speaking at Trump Tower in NY, he said the approval process for projects was "badly broken" and the nation's infrastructure was a "massive self-inflicted wound on our country". Rather than allow for a patchwork of agency reviews, the White House says this order implements a One Federal Decision policy under which the lead federal agency will work with other relevant federal agencies to complete the environmental reviews and permitting decisions needed for major infrastructure projects.

"If Trump has his way, we'll be facing a fossil fuel buildout that locks America into climate catastrophe", said Janet Redman, U.S. Policy Director at Oil Change International. But the flooding measure was left off of the final list of nixed orders.

Major infrastructure projects to be processed as "One Federal Decision", meaning if milestones are missed or extended, senior agency officials would be notified.

SmarterSafer, a Washington-based coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations and mitigation advocates, expressed disappointment in Trump's rollback of the standard in a statement on Tuesday. "And by the way, if it doesn't meet environmental safeguards, we're not going to approve it - very simple". They could use the best available climate change science; they could require that standard projects like roads and railways be built two feet above the national 100-year flood elevation standard and critical buildings like hospitals be built three feet higher; or they could require infrastructure to be built to at least the 500-year flood plain.

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Turku is a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River , in the region of Southwest Finland . Local media in Finland say one person has died after a man stabbed several people in the south-western city of Turku .

To demonstrate how the permitting process as it now exists stifles production on infrastructure, the president rolled out a massive flowchart he claimed showed all of the steps an applicant must take to have a permit for highway construction approved.

Trump's decision to roll back the policy was denounced by environmental groups as soon as it was first reported.

The U.S. has already suffered an estimated $260 billion in flood related damages between 1980 and 2013. "We hope these changes will bring a meaningful improvement to our ability to provide jobs for American workers and build new pipeline project".

Trump's attempts to pass an infrastructure reform plan have been largely left on the back burner on Capitol Hill, where issues like health care, tax reform and confirmations have taken precedence.

"We used to have the greatest infrastructure anywhere in the world".

The order calls for a scoring system to track agency performance with respect to major infrastructure projects on several factors, including the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of reviews and approvals.

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