TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The undersigned trade associations and labor unions oppose amendment #72 to Division C of H.R. 7608, the first package of appropriations legislation that would block implementation of recently completed reforms to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. These important reforms will ensure a federal permitting process that is predictable and transparent, where “go” or “no go” decisions are made in a reasonable timeframe, and facilitates getting Americans back to work rebuilding critical infrastructure that will move people, goods, energy and information.
Our organizations strongly support a thorough environmental review process for projects under NEPA, but it should not take longer to get a decision on a permit than it would for construction of a project. Unfortunately, that is often the case today. NEPA’s permitting procedures have not been comprehensively updated since the 1970s and since then, the review times have increased to 4.5 years on average and to almost seven years for transportation projects. Reducing delays for sustainable transportation projects would reduce congestion related emissions and improve the quality of life for communities.