Friday, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with a group of over 100 bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers, sent a letter to Senate and House Armed Services Committees leaders urging them to preserve the language based on the Building Chips in America Act in the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The chips permitting bill, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support as an amendment to the Senate NDAA in July, streamlines National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review requirements for semiconductor manufacturing projects to maximize the impact of the CHIPS and Science Act. Senate and House leaders are preparing to negotiate a final, compromise version of the NDAA that could pass both chambers and be signed into law. The letter urges Senate and House leaders to maintain the Senate-passed microchip permitting reforms in that final version.

“Historically, NEPA reviews apply to projects that receive a significant portion of federal funding, giving the Federal government sufficient control over the project’s outcome. This is not the case for the CHIPS program,” the lawmakers wrote.

Federal funding for CHIPS and Science Act projects will comprise a minimal share of the cost, but they would still be deemed “major federal actions” according to Commerce Department officials overseeing the program.  

“This could halt or delay commencement of new projects, impacting the United States’ ability to bolster its national security interests, economic growth, competitiveness, and technological leadership,” the lawmakers continued. 

“Interruptions and delays to semiconductor manufacturing projects would undermine the goals of the CHIPS Act and exacerbate risks to our economic and national security, without providing additional benefits for environmental protection. Therefore, we urge you to retain Section 1090G of S. 2226 in the final FY24 NDAA,” they concluded.

The full letter is available here.