This is what everyone suspected would happen. Trump signed an executive order recently to revive the Covid affected economy that is said to speed up the approval of large scale infrastructure projects. Agencies are not required to follow existing environmental regulations if major infrastructure project approvals are sort for mining, transportation, pipelines and others.
This would waive the requirement to solicit public opinion on how the proposed projects and associated federal decisions would impact environment. The order now allows projects to go through less scrutiny. The order demonstrates the value and prioritization this administration puts towards environment and climate issues.
Environment and economics have always been considered contradicting each other as economic prosperity is considered superior to environmental sustainability. Myopic decision-making and promotion of economic activity without addressing environmental problems will eventually lock pollutions for centuries. The life of infrastructure projects are much longer than other types of projects and they will capture cost and pollution during their self-life.
Stimulus packages and economic decisions taken during these extreme situations have potential to make or break global position on environment. Recent stimulus announcement from Germany is an example how the recovery package could promote climate and zero carbon future.
There are environmental watchdogs and not for profit organizations who might challenge project decisions that do not follow environmental requirements and this order wold not be significant on the long run. However, it shows the priority and ranking of environmental issues against economic development.
It is not encouraging.