Though they acknowledge that loosening environmental rules helps them, 71 percent of the readers of Construction Dive who participated in a survey said there should be no further roll-backs of environmental regulations as they pertain to construction projects.
At issue is a recent executive order by President Trump that directs federal agencies to waive environmental regulations and streamline other controls affecting a wide array of projects. Included in the regulation roll-back would be projects for transportation, infrastructure and energy, plus environmental and natural resources projects on federal lands. The administration argues that the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be sped up if companies aren’t held to the regulations set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.
Rules affecting most construction firms include Lead and silica dust regulations (78%), Clean Water Act rules (75%), and regulations for hazardous waste (68%), the survey says, but Construction Dive reports that a significant number of respondents questioned how easing regulations would set the country back on environmental issues.
While more than half of Construction Dive readers agreed that waiving those regulations will speed up projects and make it easier to get permits and 43 percent say it will reduce costs, 71 percent say they do not support the elimination of regulations designed to protect the environment.
"While environment checks can be tedious, they are so necessary, especially given the current pace of climate change," Construction Dive quoted one reader who participated in the survey. "The construction industry is already known to be wasteful and old-fashioned, and if we continue to build without environmental consciousness, we will be in very bad shape a few years down the road."
Other readers noted that some environmental rules help protect workers too and protect vulnerable neighborhoods that might be negatively affected by projects including highways, mines and pipelines.