HELENA, MT – A recent New York Times story found that the Trump administration is rushing to approve several controversial special interest projects, despite opposition from local and Indigenous communities. New research conducted by Western Values Project shows how the Trump administration is using the coronavirus pandemic in order to fast–track long-desired special interest projects, some with direct ties to officials within the administration.
“At a time when Americans are dying in record numbers, families are struggling, and small businesses are closing, Trump’s swamp team is focused on trying to push through half-baked and destructive special interest projects on the way out, despite opposition from local and Indigenous communities. Clearly, the lobbyists and conflicted officials across the administration never stopped working for their former clients, even in the face of a deadly pandemic,” said Western Values Project director Jayson O’Neill.
The administration hastened environmental reviews or issued categorical exclusions in several instances in an attempt to greenlight some of these threatening projects before Inauguration Day under the guise that the moves would help the economy. The Trump administration has yet to provide any data or information to support that claim.
The fast-track project lists submitted to the White House this summer also include several former clients and special interests connected to conflicted lobbyist-turned Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and other Trump officials.
In addition to the projects highlighted in the New York Times, including one copper mining project connected to Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in Arizona that was described as a ‘disaster’ by a former San Carlos Apache tribal leader, Western Values Project research found:
“The result of Trump’s last-ditch end run for special interests will undoubtably be more regulatory uncertainty for communities, public land users, and industry alike. It’s more of a lawyers and lobbyists jobs package than anything else,” said O’Neill.
To read the full Western Values Project research, click here.