President Trump has today declared that environmentalism “is out of control”, accusing it of hampering business development in the US and promising to fast-track environmental permitting processes.
Echoing recent comments attacking European environmental permitting processes, which he blames for blocking the development of one of his golf courses in Ireland, Trump told an audience of auto industry chief executives that a new approach to environmental permitting was needed.
“I have friends that want to build in the United States, they go many, many years and then they can’t get their environmental permit over things nobody ever heard of before,” he said. “It’s absolutely crazy.”
“I am to a large extent an environmentalist, I believe in it, but it is out of control,” he added. “We are going to make a very short process, we are either going to give you your permits or not give you your permits, but you are going to know very quickly.”
The comments came in a meeting with the chief executives of General Motors, Ford, Fiat, and Chrysler at the White House, where the industry leaders faced calls from the White House for them to locate more manufacturing plants in the US.
Trump reiterated his pledge to cut regulations and taxes on the industry in a bid to encourage the relocation of more manufacturing capacity from Mexico to the US.
The comments come just days after Trump’s EPA pick, Scott Pruitt, floated the idea of a review of US vehicle emission standards and the waiver that allows California to set higher standards.
However, it remains to be seen if any proposed relaxation of environmental rules would be welcomed by an auto industry that largely supported the US government’s emissions standards and has invested heavily in the development of electric and other low emission vehicles.
The meeting came as reports from Bloomberg suggested Trump could move as early as today to advance the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. It remains unclear how the President will support the projects, which were suspended by President Obama in the face of long-running opposition from Native American tribes and green groups.