Congressman Schweikert Introduces Legislation to Reform NEPA and Reduce Government Regulation
July 1, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-06) introduced the NEPA State Assignment Expansion Act, and the NEPA Accountability and Enforcement Act, two pieces of legislation focused on reforming the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes.
"Now more then ever, it is important that we are streamlining our regulatory processes for each investment we are making," said Rep. Schweikert. "Too often, our policy proposals create burdensome government processes, slowing down our ability to promote innovation and efficiently move clean energy technology forward. I am proud to introduce both of these important pieces of legislation to revolutionize what has evolved to become a burdensome and bureaucratic policy, and help quickly move important projects forward."
"The best way to boost American infrastructure is to cut down on needless bureaucratic complexity. Implementing a reasonable time limit and empowering state officials to carry out NEPA will provide certainty and improve the process. I’m proud to have Rep. Schweikert partner with me to advance these reforms," said Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).
"Right now, we can only build new clean energy projects and reduce carbon dioxide emissions as fast as we can permit new projects," said Rich Powell, Executive Director, ClearPath Action. "By establishing shorter permitting timelines, we can make the process more efficient, which will allow clean energy developers to more quickly deploy their technologies, and ensure all communities benefit from clean energy projects."
"It is important for both the environment and the economy that America can invest in infrastructure and expect reasonable approval and construction timelines. As NEPA approval timelines have only gotten longer, I am happy to see more Congressional focus on remedying this and improving the incentives to invest in the United States," said Philip Rossetti, Senior Fellow for Energy & Environment, R Street Institute.
“The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) welcomes Congressman Schweikert’s introduction of two key NEPA reform bills – the House companion to S. 719, the State Assignment Expansion Act, and S. 721, the NEPA Accountability and Enforcement Act. Both of these bills provide much needed reforms to the archaic and bureaucratic National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that would deliver federal public works projects on time. NSSGA supports pragmatic permitting reform that would eliminate duplicative environmental reviews and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments. Americans from coast to coast have called for transformative infrastructure investment for years, and we are finally on the precipice of Congress passing historic levels of federal infrastructure investment through a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization. Rep. Schweikert’s State Assignment Expansion Act and NEPA Accountability and Enforcement Act bills would ensure federal, state and local stakeholders can leverage these federal funds and deliver meaningful public works projects on time and on budget, without sacrificing environmental protections.”
The NEPA State Assignment Expansion Act would:
Expand the NEPA assignment program to let federal agencies delegate NEPA review authority to relevant state entities, which can carry out NEPA review on the agency's behalf, under the supervision of the agency.
Arizona is one of seven states that currently have a NEPA Assignment agreement in place with the Department of Transportation.
This legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Lesko (AZ-08) and Dan Newhouse (WA-04).
The NEPA Accountability and Enforcement Act would:
Require federal agencies to complete the NEPA process in two years for proposed projects that need an EIS
Impose a one year deadline for agencies to issue a Categorical Exclusion (CE) and complete the NEPA process for projects with an EA, with an overall shot clock of three years for an agency to complete the NEPA process
Require agencies to approve or deny permits within 90 days of completion of the NEPA process