Trump signs executive order allowing federal agencies to bypass environmental laws
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President Donald Trump has issued a new executive order allowing federal agencies to bypass requirements from some environmental laws. The president says this about energizing the economy, but environmentalists disagree.
Marketplace’s Nancy Marhsall Genzer has the details. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.
Nancy Marshall-Genzer: The president says we need to speed up environmental reviews for big infrastructure projects — things like mines, highways and pipelines. He says environmental reviews that are part of laws like the Endangered Species Act are slowing down those projects.
David Brancaccio: What do environmental groups have to say about this?
Marshall-Genzer: They say these environmental reviews are important because they give people who would be affected by, say a new pipeline going through or near their community, a chance to have a say in the project. We spoke with Samantha Gross, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, about this:
“Studies have shown that COVID-19 is harder on people who’ve been exposed to environmental pollutants. So, in response to this, we’re going to roll back a law that potentially protects people from greater pollution?”
Brancaccio: So will these environmental laws just be rolled back, by this executive order?
Marshall-Genzer: No – it won’t be that easy. Gross says there’s no question that this executive order will be challenged in court. She says environmental groups will bring lawsuits to put a stay on it, to prevent it from going into effect.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?
It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.
How are Americans spending their money these days?
Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.
What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?
Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”
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