Last evening, Congressman Rudy Yakym (IN-02) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) introduced H.R. 6129, the Studying NEPA’s Impact on Projects Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing excessive red tape and helping streamline the federal permitting process. This legislation would require the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to publish and present to Congress an annual report outlining National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) project litigation, as well as its impact on the paperwork burden and wait times for infrastructure projects.
“Excessive litigation is all too often bogging down energy and critical infrastructure investments under of reams red tape, resulting in lengthy and costly delays for projects we need built today,” said Rep. Yakym. “By finding out where the current bottlenecks exist under NEPA, we can reform and streamline the federal permitting process so more projects get off the ground and built. I am proud to partner with Congressman Panetta on this important legislation so we can get America building again, reduce our reliance on foreign fuel, and deliver lower energy prices for our constituents.”
“The federal permitting process is often marred by overly bureaucratic restraints and delays that can hinder our ability to improve our infrastructure or implement clean energy projects to deal with climate change,” said Rep. Panetta. “Our straightforward, bipartisan legislation would require the Council on Environmental Quality to do an annual report about the efficiency and effectiveness of the permitting process. With that important information, Congress could better do its job to ensure that our laws are implemented, our infrastructure is built, and our efforts to reduce our carbon output are enhanced with the expeditious construction of clean energy projects.”
Other groups supporting this legislation include the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Too often critical infrastructure projects are held up by NEPA reviews and the agencies involved are often less than forthcoming on the major obstacles to federal environmental approvals,” said Jimmy Christianson, Vice President of Government Relations for the Associated General Contractors of America. “Congressman Yakym’s bill will ensure transparency with this process by requiring the Council for Environmental Quality to report on these environmental reviews and the lawsuits associated with them. Enhanced accountability will help inform future efforts to reform the environmental review and permitting processes.”
“This bill builds on efforts to reform the NEPA permitting process, providing critical accountability mechanisms to track if recent reforms are meaningfully reducing costly, time-consuming permitting delays,” said Robin Rorick, Vice President of Midstream Policy for the American Petroleum Institute. “A transparent, timely and consistent permitting process is vital to expanding the development of all energy infrastructure, from natural gas and oil to wind and solar projects, and this legislation is an important step forward in advancing that goal.”
“Our federal permitting process is broken and delaying badly needed investments in critical infrastructure,” said Chad Whiteman, Vice President of Environment and Regulatory Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The bipartisan ‘Studying NEPA’s Impact on Projects Act” introduced by Representatives Yakym and Panetta will help improve transparency concerning America’s overly complex permitting process. Shining light on lengthy agency reviews and excessive litigation enables the public and investors to better understand exactly what is happening and will help identify the solutions necessary to take advantage of the unprecedented infrastructure funding opportunities that Congress has made available in recent years.”
“The NAM applauds Congressman Yakym and Congressman Panetta for their bipartisan effort to address our out-of-date permitting laws and procedures that are restricting our country’s ability to compete globally,” said Brandon Farris, Vice President of Domestic Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers. “Protracted legal battles make it more difficult for manufacturers to grow, hire and invest more in the United States. This legislation takes a key step toward identifying necessary further reforms to ensure that manufacturers can continue to drive our nation forward.”