The Trump administration is proposing a new rule to ease environmental restrictions and speed up some major infrastructure projects, a move that worries environmentalists concerned about climate change. Specifically, the administration is easing up on regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act, claiming it's outdated.
"These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground, and deny jobs to our nation's incredible workers," the president said, announcing the proposed rule change from the Roosevelt Room.
The president said they're still going to have very "strong" regulation, but do it "quickly." Projects will soon take about two years, instead of as many as 10 or 20 years, as the environmental impact process would have a two-year limit.
"We'll get it down to a very low number," and "fast," the president said of the timeline for major infrastructure projects.
The president, despite touting the need for infrastructure funding, has yet to push any successful infrastructure package through Congress. So-called "infrastructure" weeks or focuses from the administration have inevitably become overshadowed by other news and chaos, making "infrastructure week" a punchline for pundits.
During the event, the president was also asked what he believed happened to the Ukraine-bound passenger plane that crashed in Iran earlier this week. CBS News has reported that U.S. officials are confident the plane was accidentally downed by an Iranian missile.
"I have my suspicions," Mr. Trump responded, though he said that he did not want to say what they were. He added, "It's a tragic thing. But somebody could have made a mistake on the other side. Could have — could have made a mistake." He also said that "it has nothing to do with us." Mr. Trump knocked down the Iranian explanation that the plane, which crashed soon after takeoff, had a mechanical problem.
"Some people say it was mechanical, I personally don't think that's even a question personally," he said. "So we'll see what happens."
On another topic, the president said he might want to wait until after the November presidential election to wait to complete a second phase of a trade deal with China.
The event comes after the president's announcement that the U.S. will impose new sanctions on Iran after its missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. Mr. Trump said Iran appears to be backing down, but emphasized U.S. military might is ready whenever needed.
On Thursday night, the president heads to Toledo, Ohio,. Shortly before that rally, members of Congress are scheduled to vote on a war powers resolution limiting the president's authority for taking action against Iran without consulting Congress.