Trump orders the EPA to speed up air-quality reviews

In an effort to “cut even more red tape,” President Trump issued a memorandum to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ordering it to fast-track the permitting process for manufacturers by weakening air-quality protections. In addition to potentially revising existing air-quality standards, the agency must speed up its reviews of companies' preconstruction permit applications and of states' smog-reduction plans. One of the more controversial changes allows manufacturers to pollute in areas already in violation of federal health standards by reducing pollution elsewhere. This would negate the purpose of the rule—that is, to reduce smog where air is the dirtiest. Public health advocates are calling the memo, parts of which may be illegal under the Clean Air Act, a “polluter’s dream.”

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