President Trump Delivers on his Promise to Get America Building Again

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Washington, July 15, 2020 | Doug Levine (202-225-2315) | comments

Today, members of the Western Caucus released the following statements after President Trump announced the final rule to modernize the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA). 

“Today’s announcement by the President that we are updating NEPA is welcome news for everyone in America who likes to see America build things and grow.  For too long, NEPA has grown stale, wrapped in judicial decisions, lengthy paperwork requirements and more.  What was originally just a checklist for project take off has become a process and court mandated demand for every possible consideration, theory and potential impact for entire industries wrapped onto one project.  From offshore wind in the Atlantic to solar transmission in the southwest, and pipelines nationwide, we have seen the burden these impacts take in time, and project delays cost everyone: workers, consumers, and taxpayers.  This new rule will make NEPA modern, it will speed planning, increase citizen engagement, and allow America to build great things once again,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04).

“Today’s action by the Trump Administration to modernize the NEPA regulations will cut down on outdated, bureaucratic red-tape obstructing critical national and local infrastructure projects. Energy infrastructure, coastal restoration, and flood protection projects in Louisiana and across the country have long been delayed by a NEPA process that has become overly complex and burdensome. Instead of years-long reviews that produce 600+ page documents, these updated regulations will be more effective and will lead to simpler environmental reviews and more shovels in the ground on projects that will benefit Americans’ everyday lives.  I applaud President Trump for his efforts to streamline and modernize NEPA regulations to promote economic growth and eliminate the unnecessary red tape that slows down critical infrastructure projects, all while continuing to protect our environment," said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01). 

“I applaud the Trump administration’s commitment to streamlining burdensome NEPA requirements, which have obstructed energy development and critical infrastructure projects in Wyoming. For too long, NEPA’s out-of-date regulations have been abused by far-left environmental extremists to silence the voice of local stakeholders in our state, delaying vital improvements to Wyoming’s roads, bridges, and waterways. President Trump is continuing to fulfill his promise to get the government off the backs of hardworking Americans by decreasing overreach and red tape," said House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-AL). 

“Overregulation and unnecessary permitting delays have had negative impacts on our communities for decades, especially in rural areas. NEPA in its current form exemplifies ‘bureaucratic red tape’ – with evaluations taking up to 6 years to complete. Our constituents cannot afford these delays when trying to renew, maintain, or develop critical infrastructure projects across the country. Earlier this year, Republican Whip Scalise and I led 130 Members of Congress in a letter to support CEQ’s efforts to modernize NEPA, and I am glad to see the Administration following through on this regulatory relief. This rule will finally allow for a streamlined permitting approach, encourage environmental stewardship, and incentivize investment in our rural communities across the West and beyond,” said Vice Chairman for Departments of Interior and  Energy Dan Newhouse (WA-04).

“NEPA is based on a good idea – oversight on government projects – but over the years it has morphed into a weapon for litigious environmental groups. Now, NEPA has become the most litigated environmental law in the country, delaying critical construction and infrastructure projects across America. This is untenable. The administration’s NEPA rule changes would set time limits for environmental reviews, clarify where NEPA applies, reduce frivolous litigation, cut back on unnecessary paperwork and more, maintaining the parts of NEPA that are effective and eliminating those that aren’t. I applaud President Trump’s commitment to reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.” said Vice Chairman for Infrastructure and Forestry Bruce Westerman (AR-04).

“Every administration for the past half a century has tried to untangle the mess Congress created by writing NEPA in the way it did. The House and Senate was smoking something when they enacted the obscure and flowery text of that 1965 law, and since then the courts, private business, and now special interest groups have spent unfathomable resources defining it for them. That’s not the way our form of government is supposed to work. Enacted with noble intent to expand public input and enhance environmentally conscious decisions, NEPA has morphed into a tool for excessive litigation to slow or block economic activity, including crucial projects to support clean water, affordable energy, and essential infrastructure. Today, the Administration made good on another promise to the American people. With this rule, we will have a modern environmental review process and greater regulatory certainty. Work in Congress remains to build upon and reinforce the critical work enshrined in this rule,” said Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01).

“When Congress originally drafted and passed NEPA, it was to be a simple, streamlined process. However, it has grown into a bureaucratic and lawsuit-prone monstrosity that has far exceeded its original congressional intent. The NEPA process is long, arduous, and frequently takes many years to complete. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam were finished in under a year; had NEPA existed then, this may not have been the case. There is no reason that these or other federal projects should be delayed by federal red tape. I applaud President Trump for recognizing the great regulatory burden of NEPA and taking action to reform the process,” said Vice Chairman for Indian Affairs and Fisheries Don Young (AK-AL). 

“President Trump has consistently fought to overhaul duplicative and burdensome regulations. These updated NEPA regulations will streamline infrastructure development, reduce project costs, and provide much needed certainly to the permitting process. For far too long environmental extremists have weaponized the permitting process to block or needlessly delay critical infrastructure projects. These new reforms will drastically improve the decision making processes while also maintaining appropriate environmental protections and opportunities for public input. I am grateful that the President continues to prioritize the revitalization of America,” said Vice Chairman for Defense and Veterans Affairs Doug Lamborn (CO-05). 

“NEPA’s review processes are severely outdated, and as a result, it often takes years for important infrastructure projects to be approved. Too often, the unnecessary bureaucracy gets in the way of building water storage, roads, bridges, and other projects in a timely manner. Today’s final rule modernizes the environmental review process, and in turn, will speed up infrastructure projects that are much-needed across America. I’m glad the Trump Administration has finally cut the red tape around updating our infrastructure by streamlining the NEPA process," said Vice Chairman for Agriculture and Chief Business Officer Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). 

“Reform of a broken and cumbersome NEPA process is vital for northern Minnesota. We need mining, road and bridge construction, harbor maintenance, renewable energy development, pipeline building, and electricity transmission if we are to compete with the rest of the world while providing high-wage jobs. Unfortunately, any progress on these projects has been hijacked time and again by well-funded activist groups working under the guise of conservation. Therefore, I applaud President Trump, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the rest of the Administration for rightfully moving forward with these commonsense reforms. I look forward to working with the Administration and putting northern Minnesota back to work,” said Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08).

“Rural Oregonians know too well the burdens of our dated, slow and tedious NEPA regulations. They’ve watched for years as special interest groups have hijacked the process to drag out needed forest and range management projects that would improve the health of our public lands and reduce the threat of wildfire on our communities. A lot has changed in the last 40 years and a fresh look at these regulations is long overdue. President Trump’s actions to streamline this process will help ensure that we can better manage our forests, protect our communities and improve our nation’s transportation and energy infrastructure into the future,” said Congressman Greg Walden (OR-02).

 “Building the infrastructure our country desperately needs and protecting our environment are not mutually exclusive goals. The updates being made to NEPA today will enable communities across the country to build the infrastructure necessary to support their economic growth in a timely manner that maintains balanced environmental protections,” said Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42).

“Enacted to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with federal infrastructure and economic development projects, today’s NEPA permitting process has become overly complicated and burdensome. In districts throughout the country, including Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, our communities rely on the investments of infrastructure and economic development projects, like building better roads and bridges or laying broadband. Yet sadly, many of these projects are often delayed or restricted hindering the positive impact these critical projects will have. Today’s NEPA reform is a return to a more streamlined process, cutting bureaucratic red tape and allowing for infrastructure and economic development projects to come online faster, all while ensuring we continue to protect and maintain the highest standards of environmental stewardship. I applaud the Trump Administration and the CEQ for their efforts in making the NEPA work as efficiently as possible for my fellow Oklahomans, and for continuing to bring our regulations into the 21st century," said Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03). 

“The current National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process drowns much-needed infrastructure projects in unnecessary and outdated, bureaucratic red tape that costs local communities and businesses millions of dollars on lawyers and consultants. I am pleased to see the Trump Administration take much needed action in reforming and modernizing NEPA. These finalized changes will help streamline the federal permitting process and eliminate burdensome Washington red tape by improving coordination, setting time limits, and reducing frivolous litigation. The Trump Administration’s changes to NEPA put in place badly-needed commonsense reforms that ensure that the infrastructure projects crucial to growing our economy are completed in a timely and efficient manner while simultaneously maintaining high environmental protection standards," said Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08). 

“I applaud President’s Trump’s actions in updating and streamlining NEPA regulations, paving the way for more timely, community-focused investments in critical infrastructure projects. Too often, outdated rules and bureaucratic red tape add unnecessary hurdles to these much-needed projects, creating a costly and time-consuming process for communities. These commonsense reforms will encourage economic growth while continuing to protect our environment for future generations,” said Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01). 

“NEPA regulations affect a wide range of projects from construction of roads to land and forest management, but the current regulations have become overbearing and difficult for people to navigate. This new rule will allow us to move faster on infrastructure projects while still ensuring we keep our environment safe and clean. Thank you, President Trump for cutting the red tape and removing job-killing regulations," said Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02). 

“For far too long NEPA regulations have been outdated and excessive. These overly burdensome regulations delay construction projects that create jobs and improve our infrastructure. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, this new, effective system for environment reviews will help grow our economy and modernize our roads, bridges and highways," said Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-02). 

“The Trump Administration’s efforts in modernizing the NEPA carefully weighs the needs of our 21st century economy with the responsibility of being good shepherds of the nation’s environment and resources. By making these important changes, such as establishing reasonable time limits, streamlining inter-agency coordination, and reducing unnecessary paperwork, the Trump administration is removing federal barriers to developing a cleaner, more productive infrastructure system. The burdensome permitting procedures of NEPA have blocked the development of important systems such as pipelines, wind farms, interstate highways, and transmission lines. America can both manage its environmental impacts and address the needs of our nation for today and tomorrow,” said Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26). 

“These much needed updates to the NEPA process will be a relief for Idaho and the many projects that have been blocked or delayed by unnecessary litigation and red tape. I applaud the Trump Administration for making these improvements to NEPA, and for prioritizing the need to reform bureaucratic, costly regulations that are holding our country back," said Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01). 

“NEPA was intended to lead to more informed decision making for federal projects, but it has become an expensive hinderance to getting infrastructure in place. I am happy to see changes that increase efficiency and effectiveness of NEPA for infrastructure projects," said Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02). 

“President Trump’s bold action is a necessary step toward ensuring that costly and duplicate regulations do not slow down much needed infrastructure projects in America,” said Congressman Comer. “Safely streamlining the environmental regulatory process will help expedite important projects, put Americans to work and unleash economic growth here at home," said Congressman James Comer (KY-01). 

“If our country is serious about cutting red tape, fostering growth in the private sector, and paving the way for a major infrastructure renewal, streamlining the NEPA review process is a critical step. This final rule is proof that we can protect our environment without sacrificing growth and opportunity. I applaud the President Trump for satisfying yet another promise in his pro-growth agenda that will benefit the American people in many ways,” said Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (LA-05). 

“While we need a proper review process for infrastructure projects, the NEPA process has stymied needed development to strengthen our communities,” Olson said. “This update was sorely needed to streamline the environmental review process and move needed projects forward. I applaud the president for this rule change that will ensure that our critical infrastructure projects are not held up by litigation and the heavy hand of Washington," said Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22). 

“For years, Louisianians have watched as the radical Left has twisted NEPA to kill critical infrastructure projects designed to improve quality of life and foster economic growth. In my home district, a desperately needed project that would add just three miles of highway to connect Interstate 49 through Shreveport has been bogged down in the environmental review process for more than seven years with no end in sight. President Trump understands better than anyone that modernizing NEPA is key to getting Americans back to work and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. By cutting red tape and pushing commonsense reform across the federal government, the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress built the strongest, most prosperous economy in the history of our country. With bold, decisive action like this updated rule, I have every confidence that President Trump can help America do it again," said Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-04). 

“The United States should always strive to be ahead of the curve for infrastructure and advancement while balancing environmental concerns. The modernization of the NEPA process is long overdue and will ensure critically important infrastructure projects are completed without bureaucratic delay," said Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-AL).

“This important rule change will streamline the environmental review and permitting process for critical infrastructure projects. The current process is fraught with bureaucratic red tape and onerous requirements, often needlessly delaying projects for years. I applaud the administration and the CEQ for implementing the new rule," said Congressman Paul Cook (CA-08). 

“The Trump Administration’s decision to modernize NEPA is an important step in reducing federal overreach while prioritizing American jobs and reducing the cost of living for the nation’s poor and middle class, while continuing to make America even greater. For too long, NEPA has been a bureaucratic nightmare that prevented proper management of our natural and renewable resources, as it delayed, prevented and ran up the costs of desperately needed infrastructure projects. The modernization and streamlining of NEPA is a major step forward for everyone but leftist lawyers and leftwing political organizations, and it will actually continue to improve our water and air,” said Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01). 

Background courtesy of the Council on Environmental Quality. 

In Executive Order 13807, President Trump directed that burdensome National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations should be made more efficient and effective.  These regulations control how the Federal Government processes environmental permits but have been used to block and delay important infrastructure projects.

In January 2020, The President announced the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for NEPA. Now, the NEPA final rule is complete, and will be announced by the President. The new regulations will modernize, simplify and accelerate the environmental review process necessary to build a wide range of projects in the United States, including roads, bridges, and highways. The rule will also provide needed certainty for project sponsors and will facilitate the rebuilding of America.
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