Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia on Feb. 14, 2019.

Following the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than 40 years, one of two public hearings on the issue will take place in Denver next week.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality wants to change the way federal agencies assess environmental impacts of things like oil and gas development and infrastructure construction, including roads and water projects.

The proposal intends to speed up the act process and relieve some of developers’ burdens that the Trump administration say arise from completing environmental impact statements and environmental assessments, which can take several years to complete.

Report: Interior Department leased nearly 1 million acres prioritized for big game to oil, gas

The Bureau of Land Management is currently being sued for its resource management plan around the Grand Junction Field Office. The lawsuit claims BLM fails to consider environmental impacts of oil and gas development in the region.

Diane Schwenke, who leads the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce told the Daily Sentinel she will speak in support of the Trump administration's proposal during Denver’s public hearing on Feb. 11.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which opposes the changes, plans to hold its own press conference, rally and panel discussion on Tuesday, along with other environmental groups.

Organizations backing the Trump administration, including those in agriculture and energy, also will hold their own press conference in Denver next week in solidarity of the proposal.  

There will be three sessions for the hearing on Tuesday in Denver at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s local office at 1595 Wynkoop St. The first session will begin at 9 a.m., the second will convene at 1 p.m., and the final session will start at 5 p.m. Tickets for all three events are sold out.

A second hearing will be held in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25.  

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