NRDC Expert to Congress: Undercutting Environmental Laws Won’t Speed Energy Infrastructure

WASHINGTON – The primary barrier to modernizing America’s electricity transmission infrastructure is not the bedrock environmental regulations that President Trump is trying to undercut, but a fragmented planning process, Natural Resources Defense Council Attorney Jennifer Chen told Congress today.

“Environmental laws are not driving the delay in modernizing our grid. And President Trump’s infrastructure plan that would severely undermine these protections is not the solution,” Chen told the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy.

“Infrastructure is a decades-long -- if not century-long --investment. It’s important to build what’s needed and to build it right. To do so, it’s critical to takes steps now to improve the planning process. President Trump’s plan to circumvent environmental protections would encourage rushing to solve the wrong problem,” she said.

Chen said the disjointed electricity transmission planning process is hampering projects to deliver clean, low-cost electricity to U.S. consumers.

“Importantly, that kind of grid modernization effort will create jobs, improve the efficiency of our electricity markets, promote emissions-free electrification of our economy that is key to addressing climate change, and produce billions of dollars in benefits to electricity customers,” she said.

Chen’s testimony is at:

For more on NRDC’s take on the Trump infrastructure plan: See this blog by Shelley Poticha, managing director of the Healthy People and Thriving Communities Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and two recent NRDC opinion pieces:

·         By Poticha:;

·         By NRDC Legislative Director Scott Slesinger:


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC  


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