The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced it is rolling back several National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reforms made under the Trump administration. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

“Yet another short-sighted decision from the Biden administration. At a time when we should be coalescing around bipartisan ways to lower gas prices, tame skyrocketing inflation and fix the supply chain crisis, President Biden is unfortunately reinstating archaic NEPA regulations that will only result in delays and red tape and feed activist litigation. This administration is choosing to further weaponize NEPA by making it harder to navigate and more bureaucratic. It’s clear their only goal is to delay and obfuscate critical infrastructure projects even further. This is why it’s imperative the House passes legislation like Rep. Garret Graves’ BUILDER Act, which would bring NEPA into the 21st Century and finally give communities and project managers much-needed clarification on dated rulings.”

Background

NEPA reviews often take several years – even decades – to complete, yet these growing delays may not equate to greater environmental protections. NEPA’s dysfunctional process has long been a driver of frivolous litigation and a barrier to economic activities, including transportation infrastructure, conventional and renewable energy production and distribution, electricity transmission, active forest management, water infrastructure and broadband deployment.

The Building U.S. Infrastructure through Limited Delays and Efficient Reviews (BUILDER) Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.),would modernize outdated NEPA regulations to make infrastructure project reviews more efficient, reduce project costs, spur economic recovery, and rebuild America.

Republican committee members also sent a letter to CEQ Chairwoman Brenda Mallory in December 2021,expressing concerns about Biden’s attempts to undo the Trump administration’s updates to NEPA.

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