U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) today introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at reforming the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in order to streamline infrastructure projects.
The first bill, the Federal Permitting Modernization Act of 2021, establishes a series of deadlines for agency action under the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act), which gives project proponents more control over the timetable and prevents litigants from unnecessarily holding up projects.
Sen, Cruz said, “I am proud to introduce two pieces of legislation that will loosen NEPA’s stranglehold on infrastructure permitting, allow jobs to flourish, and projects to be completed in a timely manner. Now more than ever, we need a regulatory framework that will continue to protect our environment while also ensuring projects can operate without excessive government scrutiny.”
This legislation is supported by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU).
The NTU said in a letter, “For taxpayers and private investors that finance these projects, it should be unacceptable that these needless delays continue to swell. The United States has a long tradition of building impressive structures, and the government-driven delays ingrained into our permitting process undermines this history. Thankfully, your legislation brings much-needed reforms to streamline the approval process and roll back
burdensome delays. The new deadlines laid out in your bill would convey a greater degree of certainty in a growing market and reduce the capability of the federal government to unduly limit the potential of the construction industry. Importantly, by cutting delays, builders will be able to employ more workers and bring their infrastructure projects online ahead of schedule and under budget.”
The second bill would dramatically shorten the timetable to file a petition for judicial review of a permit, license or approval of an infrastructure project from 150 days to 90 days.
Sen. Cotton said, “Keeping our infrastructure up-to-date is important for the economy and for keeping America competitive in the global market. Too often burdensome litigation causes our hardworking men and women to sit idle on job sites as they wait on court processes. The reforms we’re incorporating in NEPA will expedite the often lengthy and onerous process so that Arkansans can quickly get back to work.”