Dear Chair Neumayr:
The Agricultural Retailers Association, Association of American Railroads, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Gas Association, American Retailers Association, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors of America, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, Consumer Energy Alliance, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of REALTORS®, National Building Trades Union, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Ocean Industries Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Public Lands Council, The Fertilizer Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (collectively, the “Coalition”) appreciates the Council on Environmental Quality’s (“CEQ”) efforts to modernize the implementation of one of the Nation’s most important environmental laws—the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The Coalition offers the following comments in support of CEQ’s proposed revisions to its regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (“Proposed Rule”).1
Our organizations represent agriculture, energy, construction, forestry, manufacturing, transportation, and other sectors that form the backbone of America’s economy. We fully support the fundamental goals of NEPA to appropriately consider the potential environmental impacts of federal actions. The Coalition believes that CEQ’s proposed revisions refocus federal NEPA reviews on NEPA’s original purpose to facilitate excellent agency action through informed decision-making,2 accomplished through the same balanced goals as the original 1978 NEPA regulations: “to reduce paperwork, to reduce delays, and at the same time to produce better decisions which further the national policy to protect and enhance the quality of the human environment.”3 We urge CEQ to finalize updates to the NEPA implementing regulations to modernize the federal environmental review and permitting process under NEPA, with the goal of increasing infrastructure investment and project development in a manner that strengthens our economy and enhances environmental stewardship.