Lucas Applauds Trump Administration’s Final Rule Modernizing NEPA

Mike Seals - July 15, 2020 10:15 pm

Cheyenne, OK – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement applauding the Trump Administration’s final rule to update and modernize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations:

 “Enacted to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with federal infrastructure and economic development projects, today’s NEPA permitting process has become overly complicated and burdensome. In districts throughout the country, including Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, our communities rely on the investments of infrastructure and economic development projects, like building better roads and bridges or laying broadband. Yet sadly, many of these projects are often delayed or restricted hindering the positive impact these critical projects will have”, said Congressman Lucas.

“Today’s NEPA reform is a return to a more streamlined process, cutting bureaucratic red tape and allowing for infrastructure and economic development projects to come online faster, all while ensuring we continue to protect and maintain the highest standards of environmental stewardship. I applaud the Trump Administration and the CEQ for their efforts in making the NEPA work as efficiently as possible for my fellow Oklahomans, and for continuing to bring our regulations into the 21st century.”

Signed into law in 1970, NEPA requires Federal agencies to assess the potential environmental impacts of proposed major Federal actions. The NEPA process can apply to a wide variety of projects and activities affecting Americans’ everyday lives from the construction of roads, bridges, highways, public transit, and airports to water infrastructure, conventional and renewable energy projects, and land, forest, and fishery management activities. CEQ’s (Council on Environmental Quality) NEPA regulations date back to 1978 and have never been comprehensively updated until now.

CEQ’s final rule will modernize the NEPA regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely environmental reviews by simplifying and clarifying regulatory requirements, incorporating key elements of President Trump’s One Federal Decision policy, including a two-year goal for completing environmental reviews.  The final rule codifies Supreme Court and other case law, updates the regulations to reflect current technologies and agency practices, eliminates obsolete provisions, and improves the format and readability of the regulations. The rule also exempts certain loan guarantee programs from the NEPA process, which will reduce unnecessary burdens on small businesses and family farms. Additionally, the rule will expand public participation and the involvement of Tribal governments in the NEPA process. The modernized NEPA regulations will accelerate the environmental review and permitting process for development of modern, resilient infrastructure, management of our Federal lands and waters, and restoration of our environment.

In March, Lucas joined 129 Members in sending a letter of support of CEQ’s efforts to modernize the National Environmental Policy Act.

Click here for a fact sheet on the final rule.

Click here for the text of the final rule.

 

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