President Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promises to bolster US manufacturing.
On Tuesday, after meeting with auto execs and pledging to weaken “out of control” environmental regulations, Trump signed two executive orders to expedite the environmental review process for infrastructure projects and reduce regulatory burdens for US manufacturing.
In one order, Trump tasks the White House Council on Environmental Quality to decide whether an infrastructure project qualifies as “high priority” within 30 days of a request being made. The order specifically highlights the significance of projects to improve the electric grid and telecommunications systems, as well as projects to repair and upgrade port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges and highways.
“The Trump administration is carrying through on a campaign promise to reduce the regulatory burdens associated with developing and commercializing infrastructure so that investment capital can be deployed efficiently,” said Jay Ryan, a partner in Baker Botts’ Washington, DC office, in an email. “The executive order evinces the administration’s intent to create conditions that incent capital deployment in major infrastructure projects across a number of industry sectors.”
In a separate order, Trump directs federal departments and agencies to “support the expansion of manufacturing in the United States through expedited reviews of and approvals for proposals to construct or expand manufacturing facilities and through reductions in regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturing.”
The Secretary of Commerce will initiate this process through outreach to stakeholders about the impact of federal regulations on American manufacturers. This will include a 60-day public comment period.
After the 60 days are up, the Secretary of Commerce must report back to the Trump with a plan to streamline the federal permitting processes and reduce regulatory burdens for manufacturing. This may include changes to existing laws.
Prior to Trump’s inauguration, the National Association of Manufacturers issued a report that said manufacturers collectively face more than 297,000 restrictions on their operations from federal regulations. If the cost of those rules were cut, then manufacturers could allocate capital to everything from research to modern technologies to jobs, the study said.
“On Day One, President-elect Trump can deliver a boost to manufacturing by taking the lead on balancing our regulatory system,” said NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons in a statement about the manufacturers’ study.