WTAS: Commonsense Reforms to Federal Reviews Key to Economic Prosperity

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: Friday, July 17, 2020 
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov 

On Wednesday, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced its finalized rule, Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to accelerate environmental reviews, improve American infrastructure, and advance a smarter regulatory agenda for the American people. 

“This action would have never happened without President Trump’s bold leadership and vision. For far too long, critically important projects had been needlessly paralyzed by red tape. This commonsense reform will dramatically improve the federal government’s decision-making process, while also ensuring that the environmental consequences of proposed projects are thoughtfully analyzed,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.

The press release, fact sheet, and other supporting documents from CEQ on the final rule are available online.

These new regulations further build on the successes already accomplished by the Department since streamlining current processes to reduce timelines for environmental reviews from 5 years and 850 pages in length down to 1.5 years and 145 pages in length. More information about the Department’s progress is online.



Asa Hutchinson, Governor, Arkansas: “I was glad to see today's long-overdue modernization of NEPA. These changes will cut unnecessary red-tape and jumpstart stalled infrastructure projects in Arkansas and across the country, while ensuring that we remain good stewards of the environment.”


Buster Johnson, Supervisor, Mohave County, District 3: “This is a much-needed modernization of the NEPA process that considers both the environmental costs as well as the economic benefits of projects being developed on federal lands. These updated NEPA rules are concerns Mohave County has been advocating for a long time. By proposing a time limits of two years for completion of an EIS and one year for completion of an environmental assessments (EAs), this new process will relieve unnecessary burdens and extravagant costs that project developers, government officials, and the public were all facing in the past. Limits like this have been a long time coming, and I am extremely glad to see them included in this new rule. I want to applaud the Council on Environmental Quality for all their hard work on these much-needed updates.”


Ray Beck, Chairman, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado: “NEPA has a history of being manipulated by special interest groups who effectively prevent federal land management from being implemented. The revised NEPA rules are a positive step to meaningfully involve the public and local governments in effective, responsible and positive land management decisions.”


Brian Kemp, Governor, Georgia: “By cutting outdated regulations, this regulatory reform will reduce burdensome bureaucracy without compromising environmental protection. I want to thank President Trump and the Council on Environmental Quality for their strong leadership on this issue. Working together, we will continue to cut red tape to support our job creators and create economic opportunity for the American people.”


Brad Little, Governor, Idaho: “I applaud President Trump’s efforts to modernize the National Environmental Policy Act. The proposed updates will reduce barriers to prosperity, improve public participation, and create certainty while upholding essential environmental safeguards. The much-needed updates will allow Idaho to move at the speed of business, creating jobs and improving our infrastructure and natural resources – something that’s more important now than ever before.”


Kim Reynolds, Governor, Iowa: “President Trump has made it a priority to reduce excessive and burdensome regulations that restrict innovation and slow economic growth. For decades, NEPA strangled our economy with excessive paperwork, litigation, and delays. Modernizing these regulations will balance environmental protections with common sense practices benefiting Iowa taxpayers and the entire economy.”

John H. Wills, State Representative, House District 1: “The National Environmental Policy Act affects our everyday lives from the construction of roads, bridges, highways, and airports to conventional and renewable energy projects, water infrastructure, and even loans for small businesses and family farms.  The final rule ensures that Federal agencies consider all significant effects that are reasonably foreseeable and have a reasonably close causal relationship to the proposed action. This is a reasonable approach while at the same time protecting our environment and fragile systems.”


Randy Maluchnik, Commissioner, Carver County, District 3: “As major owners and operators of our local transportation and infrastructure systems, Carver County appreciates the Council on Environmental Quality’s efforts to streamline the federal permitting process and eliminate unnecessary delays for county road and bridge projects. Safeguarding the health and vibrance of our local communities should be balanced with commonsense permitting reforms that reduce red tape and facilitate the delivery of projects that enhance safety, connectedness and our local and regional economies.”


Tate Reeves, Governor, Mississippi: “President Trump and his Administration continue to make great strides in ensuring and protecting the future of our nation’s natural beauty and resources. With the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality updating the National Environmental Policy Act and modernizing burdensome regulations, it will not only benefit our environment but our economy as well. Which means we all win.”


Steve Gunderson, State Representative, House District 1: “We, in Western Montana, are drowning in a sea of red tape. An outdated NEPA, badly needing updating, does not meet the current needs of prudent, timely and trusted environmental review. NEPA is weaponized to add decades to environmental review to ultimately be litigated by one organization just to be re-litigated by another organization waiting in the wings. We need one-time, non-frivolous litigation with a quick judgement that the project either passes environmental review or fails. Once a review has been made, the project should be shielded from further litigation. I believe the proposed NEPA reform answers these needs.” 

Becky Beard, State Representative, House District 80: “The Trump Administration’s ‘One Federal Decision’ policy updates and streamlines the NEPA process. These efforts are to be applauded. Not only will the public participation process be concluded in the early phases, but the overall environmental review process will be accelerated while maintaining emphasis on the management of our Federal lands and waters, and to our overall environment. Delays and project cost overruns will be minimized, and many of the unnecessary litigation efforts can be reduced. The allowance for other agencies to utilize other CatEx determinations will also promote efficiencies in the overall process.”


Pete Ricketts, Governor, Nebraska: “Thank you to President Trump for modernizing the 50-year old National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by simplifying and clarifying regulatory requirements. The new rule will significantly reduce the amount of time allowed to complete NEPA reviews and save Nebraska taxpayers millions of dollars.”


Leo Blundo, Commissioner, Nye County, District 4: “We all agree that environmental considerations are important, we want to leave our kids a better world. However, NEPA has been used to delay or bureaucratically kill almost every project proposed if any federal decision is involved. In an area like Nye County where 98 percent of the land is under federal control every project we need requires a federal decision and must follow NEPA. The challenge is NEPA has become unworkable. The federal bureaucracy has evolved to avoid litigation so every NEPA study has become a never ending money pit which bogs down almost every project. So any changes that will reduce the time and money spent on NEPA while still providing for informed decisions is a win-win for everyone, government, businesses, and the public we serve.We are hopeful that these changes will provide for jobs and economic development in rural areas like Nye County while keeping public lands open for everyone’s enjoyment.”

New Mexico

James Townsend, State Representative, District 54: “I am pleased to support this worthwhile effort that not only continues to protect and preserve our environment but also enables and allows job creation and future economic prosperity. Thank you to the Trump Administration.”

William E .Cavin, Chairman, Chaves County Commission: “The NEPA environmental review process is incredibly burdensome to local governments as well as business.  The current process takes years to complete.  The CEQ Final Rule sets common sense time limits and clarifies when NEPA applies. I applaud the Administration for undertaking these much needed updates to NEPA.”

North Dakota

Doug Burgum, Governor, North Dakota: “Modernizing our roads, pipelines, flood protection and other critical infrastructure is crucial to the safety and economic success of North Dakotans and all Americans, and such projects deserve a timely, efficient and effective environmental review. The 40-year-old NEPA process has become overly complex and time-consuming, resulting in unnecessary delays, litigation and inflated costs that ultimately fall on taxpayers. We appreciate the Trump administration and CEQ for finalizing these streamlined, common-sense rules, which will return the process to the original spirit of NEPA by ensuring timely reviews, retaining the focus on environmental stewardship and expanding public participation.”


Kevin Stitt, Governor, Oklahoma:  “Today’s update to the regulations for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act are a welcomed improvement. For far too long, activists have weaponized NEPA as a way to delay and deny important federal projects. This Rule helps pave the way for projects to have the proper environmental reviews, but get completed in a reasonable amount of time.”


Christian Y. Leinbach, Chairman, Berks County Commissioners: “The NEPA process has been cumbersome, unpredictable and costly for Berks County and often has little or nothing to do with protecting the environment. As a County Commissioner I welcome these common sense reforms by the White House's Council on Environmental Quality as well as the leadership of the Trump administration in leading meaningful reform.”

South Dakota

Kristi Noem, Governor, South Dakota: “Modernizing and revamping the NEPA regulations are significant and long-overdue. Among a host of others, one area we often see these burdensome requirements slowing down progress is around infrastructure projects like highways and bridges. As Governor, I am committed to protecting our people and our state from federal government intrusion. I’m so thankful for President Trump’s leadership on these very necessary reforms.”


Bill Lee, Governor, Tennessee: “The American people deserve an effective and efficient federal government, and I'm very pleased to see the Trump Administration cutting bureaucratic red tape so that federal projects can be approved and completed in a more timely manner.”


Greg Abbott, Governor, Texas: “I applaud the CEQ’s efforts to streamline the NEPA review process, reduce unnecessary and redundant regulatory burdens, and clarify longstanding CEQ regulations. Restoring efficiency in the NEPA review process will enhance public safety, improve environmental outcomes, and deliver cost benefits to consumers. I strongly support programmatic NEPA reform at the CEQ and individual agency levels, and look forward to its implementation.”


Gary Herbert, Governor, Utah: “I appreciate the Trump Administration's work to modernize NEPA, which was long overdue. Environmental Protection is crucial, and a simpler, faster, and more certain process is a win for everyone. Taxpayers and the environment will both benefit from these changes.”

Leland F. Pollock, Chairman, Garfield County Commission: “Anyone that enjoys the blessings of Public Lands owes this President a huge debt of gratitude. Multiple use of our Public Lands  is what they were created for. Multiple use means all Americans should be able to use them. Single use special interest groups have been working for many years to lock everything up. The NEPA revisions will help all Americans have access to our Nations greatest assets, Public Lands. Thank you to the Trump Administration.” 

Tammy Pearson, Commissioner, Beaver County: “We are hopeful that the new CEQ guidelines on NEPA will encourage a more timely process that considers local input, impacts and preferred alternatives. As  locally elected County Commissioners, we especially appreciate this Administration's attention to negative impacts to local projects caused by a burdensome NEPA document.”

West Virginia

Gary Howell, Delegate, District 56: “I want to thank the Trump Administration for moving forward with policies to reduce the regulatory chains holding back American job creation.  The reforms of NEPA will pay dividends into the future by allowing Americans, and specifically West Virginian's, to have growing job opportunities.”


Mark Gordon, Governor, Wyoming: “An update to the NEPA regulations is long overdue. There is little doubt that the implementation of NEPA has evolved from scientific consideration of the environmental impacts of proposed major Federal actions to a frequently burdensome tactic used to obstruct development. The Administration's effort to revise the regulations to streamline the overall process is most welcome.” 

Dan Laursen, State Representative, District 25: “Finally, after 40 some years, we have a an Administration who took on the task of updating the NEPA regulations with vengeance and the administration has came up with new and improved regulations.  NEPA’s original intent will still be met, where government agency decision makers will still need to consider alternatives to major actions, the public will be invited to participate before the action is taken and any consequences that may result in the action must be considered, all in a set amount of time.  Not 4.5 years on average that it takes now but limited to 2 years. And a reduction in frivolous litigation is the most important part. Thank you to the Trump Administration.”

Robert Short, Chairman, Converse County Commissioners: “The Trump Administration is clearing the clutter associated with years of apathy in our federal leadership.  NEPA has been a shining example of bureaucratic swamp waters that seek to justify existence through the unnecessary burdening of our innovative people when they seek to provide economic growth for our country utilizing our lands and resources. As a county commissioner and small business owner/operator, I have experienced firsthand the effects of this job-killing tactic.  President Trump has shown a bright light on the darkness that has sought to stymie our country and has taken powerful steps to clear the minefields which hamper our ability to be energy independent and economically stable.  Kudos to our President for his willingness to drain the swamp and help our nation grow. NEPA will no longer be a tool used to kill opportunity and stifle our growth.  Thank you Thank you to the Trump Administration!”

Joel Bousman, Commissioner, Sublette County: “In Sublette County, Wyoming, it took 15 years to complete the NEPA required to simply renew livestock grazing in the Upper Green River Valley in western Wyoming. The Final Rule will appropriately address the time required for a decision. Sublette County, Wyoming is in strong support of CEQ’s Final Rule updating its NEPA Regulations.”


Chris Udall, Executive Director, Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona: “It’s the 21st Century! It is far past time that we update and streamline this 40-year-old rule with a new, more efficient and effective system that works for the regulated community. New and improved is what we’re after and we thank the Trump Administration for listening to our desires for a better process. We can have a swifter process while also protecting the environment.  We can have it both ways!”

Matt Schlapp, Chairman, American Conservative Union: “President Trump wants to end the decades-old approach of money intended for infrastructure projects being spent on countless environmental studies, designed simply to delay those projects from ever moving forward. The Council on Environmental Quality finalization of proposed rules on modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act  regulations will end this practice of obstruction through regulation. These new rules will hold Federal agencies accountable to use the money for what it is intended to do, and that’s improving infrastructure for communities in need. Government bureaucrats have spent year after year spending money on endless studies that prevent real improvements to America’s infrastructure. These new rules will put a stop to those tactics. ACU strongly supports this modernization initiative.”

Thomas Pyle, President, American Energy Alliance: “The American Energy Alliance applauds the administration's modernization of the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA is one of the most inefficient, growth-slowing, infrastructure-stopping laws we have in the U.S., and was in desperate in need of this modernization. Americans need (and deserve) updated infrastructure to get them safely where they need to go and to ensure affordable, reliable energy arrives to their cities, communities, businesses, and homes. Special-interest groups have twisted the intent behind NEPA and leveraged the legal system to their advantage in a coordinated effort to slow and stop progress. This long overdue modernization will get American infrastructure projects out of the courtroom and onto the construction site.”

Mark Compton, Executive Director, American Exploration & Mining Association: “The American Exploration & Mining Association applauds today’s much-needed action to modernize and clarify CEQ’s NEPA regulations for the first time in over forty years. Simply put, NEPA is broken. While a NEPA analysis has become ‘standard operating procedure’ for our members, it also has become increasingly more cumbersome, time consuming and expensive. NEPA is no longer the planning and decision-making tool it was designed to be. Instead, it has become the tool used by obstructionist groups who oppose responsible and lawful mineral development on federal public lands. Reforming the NEPA process and creating a more efficient permitting system are critical to improving the competitiveness of the domestic mining industry, job creation, and decreasing our reliance on foreign sources of the minerals needed for our way of life and virtually every sector of our economy including infrastructure, healthcare, renewable energy, and all types of manufacturing. The final rule announced today is a positive step toward a more effective permitting system while maintaining important environmental safeguards and ensuring meaningful public involvement and participation in the NEPA process.”

Anne Bradbury, CEO, American Exploration & Production Council: “Modernizing and clarifying NEPA could not come at a better time for our country, as we are recovering from COVID-19. NEPA permitting reforms will allow the U.S. to safely explore and produce energy, provide job opportunities to American communities, build the infrastructure needed to meet growing energy demands and expand our national economy, especially in those communities that do not have adequate access to oil and natural gas. American energy companies adhere to the most stringent regulations in the world, and often go above and beyond legal and regulatory requirements to reduce our industry’s environmental footprint. The Administration’s modernization of NEPA will allow for continued energy production and exploration in an environmentally protective way, which will help attract investment and get these projects through the permitting process – things that are vital to our ability to help spur job creation and economic growth. CEQ’s modernization returns NEPA back to its initial purpose and the American people.”

Scott Vanderwall, Vice President, American Farm Bureau Federation: “Farmers and ranchers rely on the land, some directly on federal forests and rangelands, so keeping them healthy and productive is critical to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. We support the new NEPA regulations because they will be instrumental in ensuring the responsible management of the nation’s resources. Updating these 40-year-old regulations is smart government and a welcome change.”

Rick Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government: “Environmental reviews are meant to make certain that environmental concerns about an infrastructure project are heard and in many cases mitigated. But these environmental reviews were never supposed to be never-ending death sentences for infrastructure and other projects that our nation needs. The Trump administration’s announcement today of the final rule modernizing and accelerating environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act creates balance between valid environmental concerns and our nation’s growth. As America’s economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, streamlined regulatory approval processes will pave the way for investment in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and finally allow shovel-ready jobs to be created in a timely manner.”

Karen Harbert, President and CEO, American Gas Association: “More than 179 million Americans use natural gas in their homes and one new customer signs up every minute which requires expanding and maintaining our world-class energy infrastructure. America’s natural gas utilities are making significant investments in modernizing our vast pipeline network while also drastically reducing the emissions p rofile for each customer through energy efficiency gains and advanced technologies. A reformed permitting process will enable natural gas utilities to continue to deliver affordable and clean natural gas which will be essential for our nation’s economic revival and achieving our shared environmental goals.”

Lisa B. Nelson, CEO, American Legislative Exchange Council: “As America begins to reopen the economy, President Trump’s modernization of the NEPA review process will jump start infrastructure projects all over the country and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. From shipyards and airports to roads and bridges, America needs to update its infrastructure for the 21st century. For too long, the NEPA review process stalled the construction of new infrastructure projects that power modern life. Let’s cut red tape and build the infrastructure that allows America to flourish.”

Mike Sommers, President and CEO, American Petroleum Institute: “NEPA modernization will help America streamline permitting to move job-creating infrastructure projects off the drawing board and into development. Today’s action is essential to U.S. energy leadership and environmental progress, providing more certainty to jumpstart not only the modernized pipeline infrastructure we need to deliver cleaner fuels but highways, bridges and renewable energy. These reforms will help accelerate the nation’s economic recovery and advance energy infrastructure while continuing necessary environmental reviews.”

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform: “Under the Obama administration, NEPA regulations were used as a political weapon to delay infrastructure projects with endless paperwork and litigation. It should never take 7 years for the government to issue a permit for building a bridge. Yet this is the average time it currently takes the Federal Highway Administration to complete an Environmental Impact Statement. Today's announcement from CEQ is an important step towards fixing a broken permitting process. This final rule rightly recognizes that infrastructure projects should receive their environmental review in a timely manner and based solely on the merits of the project.”

Patrick Ledger, CEO, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Arizona: “Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (AEPCO) supports the CEQ’s Final Rule updating its NEPA Regulations. This is a long overdue update of one of the most important environmental laws ever passed by Congress. The revisions will ensure that federal agency environmental reviews and authorization are conducted in a timely and efficient manner for entities such as AEPCO that operate facilities that in certain circumstances require environmental review and approval under NEPA.”

J Tyler Carlson, President, Arizona Municipal Power Users Association and CEO, Mohave Electric Cooperative: “This is an overdue modernization to rulemaking that has not been updated in more than 40 years. NEPA impacts every American's life, every day and this update will help ensure that NEPA serves its intended purpose on protecting the environment without causing multiyear delays on infrastructure projects.”

Steve Trussell, Executive Director, Arizona Rock Products Association: “The National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA is of paramount importance to the construction and construction supply industry as well as our nation’s critical projects which include roads, bridges, highways, and water infrastructure. That said, environmental impact statements are colossal bureaucratic studies that can average hundreds, if not thousands, of pages with little notable impact on identifying or implementing practical protections for the environment. In fact, some of our nation’s greatest infrastructure projects were built in less time than we currently spent conducting, analyzing and administrating the NEPA process. Under the new regulations, environmental reviews for major development would be completed in two years. Further, actions without significant environmental impacts would either be categorically excluded or reviewed in under one year.  These process improvements can be achieved without degrading environmental protections and greatly benefit our country at a critical economic time and the administration is to be lauded for this great accomplishment.”

Thomas A. Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste: “The updated rules for the National Environmental Policy Act  announced today by the Council on Environmental Quality are both welcome and long overdue. They will modernize complex and outdated 40-year old regulations that increased costs and significantly delayed construction, energy, and water projects across the country. NEPA has also been the most litigated environmental law. The new rules will help every business and taxpayer by reducing the time it takes to review a project from seven years to no more than two years, increasing public input and transparency, and making it easier to determine whether federal laws should apply to a project.”

Christian Reece, Executive Director, Club 20, Colorado: “In Western Colorado, the National Environmental Policy Act impacts how we manage wildlife, where we can develop natural resources, and how we develop our transportation and water infrastructure. With an average of 4.5 years to complete a NEPA analysis, many of our economic drivers are literally sitting in limbo, wasting time and money, waiting for approval. It’s about time this poorly written, 40-year old set of regulations is updated to allow our communities to prosper by being able to develop our resources in an environmentally sound, socially responsible, timely, and economically viable manner. We applaud the administration for their efforts to modernize this well intentioned, but unreasonably burdensome regulation.”

Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment, Competitive Enterprise Institute: “CEI welcomes the final NEPA rule as a major improvement over the existing regulations. Eliminating the necessity to consider cumulative impacts of proposed projects, limiting the effects that can be considered to those that have a reasonably close causal relationship to the project, and excluding projects from NEPA review that have only minimal federal involvement are especially important changes. These and other reforms, if implemented by career civil servants and enforced by federal judges, should remove some of the regulatory obstacles that delay major infrastructure and natural resource projects for years and often decades. The Trump administration’s new rule will not drain NEPA’s regulatory swamp completely (only Congress can do that), but it should significantly lower the water level.”

Ben Lieberman, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute: “The Trump administration has already taken steps to reduce the red tape surrounding major infrastructure projects like roads and pipelines, but the most important one yet may be today's finalization of reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).   These reforms will make it harder for environmental groups and others who oppose infrastructure projects to create endless litigation and delays.   It is especially valuable that the rule reins in efforts of climate change activists to misuse NEPA in order to block fossil fuel projects like oil and natural gas pipelines - projects that are needed for the nation to benefit from abundant and affordable domestic energy as well as creating jobs as the economy emerges from the COVID-19 shutdown.” 

James Edwards, Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights: “The Trump administration’s NEPA reforms are a welcome rebalancing of property rights-based considerations, including fairness, equity and due process. NEPA environmental reviews have grown excessively, detrimentally complicated, costly, long and slow. And they fail to serve the public interest in environmental stewardship. Streamlining NEPA reviews while preserving core environmental safeguards will speed badly needed projects, reduce costs and promote America’s industrial competitiveness. Today’s regulatory reform protects private property rights and respects property owners’ decisions on how to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”

Paul Griffin, Executive Director, Energy Fairness: “Reforming NEPA is a winning move not just for the energy industry and jobs, but for integrating renewables, ensuring the continued integrity of that engineering marvel – the Electric Grid – and for ensuring a continued supply of affordable and reliable energy.”

Dan Keppen, Executive Director, Family Farm Alliance: “Don’t be fooled by the headlines and intonations of activists who make their living in federal court rooms. The new NEPA regulation is just one of several proactive rulemaking efforts undertaken by the Trump Administration, in part intended to correct and rebalance the significant negative impacts to Western farmers and ranchers that have resulted from past federal implementation of environmental laws.”

Dan Savickas, Regulatory Policy Manager, FreedomWorks: “In one of the most advanced, developed nations in the world, there is no excuse for government regulators to hinder infrastructure projects the way they have. Not only did these regulations harm investment and innovation in America, they tangibly made the lives of millions of Americans more onerous as a result. We're glad that the administration is moving to finalize this reform that is long overdue and are looking forward to the positive changes we'll see after its full implementation.”

Dave Lock, CEO, Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association, Arizona:  “Modernizing a 40-year-old process will enable critical electric and other infrastructure projects to come to fruition sooner rather than much later. NEPA is the most litigated environmental law in the country. The federal government currently averages more than 4.5 years to complete an environmental impact statement. As the saying goes, time is money. As not-for-profits, Arizona’s co-ops are always seeking ways to lower costs, which benefits their members. Nudging federal approval along will benefit our co-ops and their members.”

Diane Katz, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation: “Five decades of NEPA experience have revealed its numerous flaws, including arbitrary standards, politicized enforcement, and protracted litigation. While the optimum policy option is repeal of the NEPA entirely, the Trump Administration’s reform of NEPA regulations will help to revive the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Establishing reasonable timelines for permitting, and streamlining the process of environmental assessments will reduce unnecessary regulatory barriers that otherwise inhibit investment, job creation and economic growth. Among the most important reforms is clarification of the environmental ‘effects’ that agencies must consider in a NEPA review. This new framework should help to prevent the time-consuming and costly analysis of speculative environmental impacts such as global warming that rely entirely on a convoluted causal chain.”

Barry Russell, President and CEO, Independent Petroleum Association of America: “The Trump Administration has taken a bold step to modernize the NEPA process. The new rule updates 40-year-old regulations by reducing unnecessary paperwork, setting timelines for environmental reviews and reduces frivolous litigation efforts designed to simply stall or delay vital infrastructure projects. Prior to this new NEPA rule, building or updating energy infrastructure on federal lands could be held up in review for years with no decision in sight. IPAA's members fully support environmental protections, smart regulations and community input on projects. However, many times the NEPA review process takes longer to complete than it takes to actually finish a project. The time has come to modernize the outdated NEPA regulations and bring the process into the 21st Century. Developing a regulatory program that provides timely decisions brings much needed certainty to businesses and their employees who are trying to plan for the long term and assure labor, equipment and materials can be available when needed. IPAA also applauds the Trump Administration for taking action to spur key efficiency efforts and improve agency coordination when administering NEPA. The Administration’s proposal to condense the interagency review process and designate a lead agency for NEPA reviews is long overdue and enthusiastically welcomed. When the NEPA process results in environmentally sound, modernized infrastructure projects moving forward and being completed in a timely process, all Americans stand to benefit.”

Matthew Chase, Executive Director/CEO, National Association of Counties: “As environmental stewards with significant public safety and infrastructure responsibilities, counties welcome the administration’s efforts to streamline the permitting process and foster conditions for responsible economic growth. We support the new requirements for federal agencies to work with state and local governments on environmental analyses and other common-sense improvements to the NEPA process. We look forward to continuing our efforts with our federal partners to build infrastructure for the future and achieve our shared environmental and economic goals.”

Kevan P. Stone, Executive Director of National Association of County Engineers: “American investment and ingenuity are needed now more than ever. The reforms contained in today’s final rule on NEPA will allow county governments to stretch precious infrastructure dollars further while remaining good stewards of the environment. Allowing greater flexibility and reducing the federal bureaucracy is a winning formula to improving our national transportation infrastructure. As our nation looks to revive its economy, these reforms will be vital in getting more Americans back to work and providing safer roads and bridges in a more streamlined and efficient manner.”

Chuck Fowke, Chairman, National Association of Home Builders: “The final rule to reform the National Environmental Policy Act is the most recent example of the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce harmful regulations that hurt small businesses and impede economic growth. By updating the NEPA regulations to modernize the federal environmental review process, the new rule will streamline the federal permitting process and allow badly needed transportation and infrastructure projects to move forward. In turn, this will build strong communities and support a thriving housing market.”

Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers: “Manufacturers are committed to smart, strong environmental protections, improving the lives of all Americans and building a more inclusive future together. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic it is more important than ever to strengthen U.S. manufacturing capabilities and operations. Onshoring manufacturing requires first establishing basic infrastructure—from water and energy delivery to transportation—before ground can ever be broken on a major facility. Obtaining permits for these items can take years, especially when environmental reviews are piecemeal, but CEQ’s bold steps today utilize existing authority to strengthen reviews, reduce the time necessary to obtain permits and set the stage to incentivize job creation and investment in America.”

Marty Smith, President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: “The modernized NEPA rule brings common sense back to an important rule that was established to protect our land and water resources. President Trump and his team at the Council on Environmental Quality embraced a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure this country has the strongest possible environmental policy for years to come. They deserve an abundance of thanks. American ranchers that care for hundreds of millions of acres of private and public lands across the United States know the importance of implementing timely improvements based on the best knowledge at hand. These changes ensure NEPA does not delay good management practices.”

Erik G. Milito, President, National Ocean Industries Association: “An unprecedented economic crisis needs a historic comeback. The Trump Administration has carefully modernized NEPA so that critical projects can escape endless bureaucratic red tape and lawsuits and get to work with their shovel-ready jobs, while still ensuring a thorough environmental analysis. A smarter NEPA foundation means that many energy and infrastructure projects have the certainty and clarity to finally move forward under the same high level of safety and environmental stewardship Americans demand. A brighter future awaits countless projects, including planned offshore wind farms up and down the Atlantic Coast with the billions of dollars of investment and tens of thousands of American jobs they will bring. These changes to NEPA are critically important policy to both investment and environmental stewardship. Our members are ready to work.”

Rich Nolan, President and CEO, National Mining Association: “These reforms will begin to align NEPA with its intended purpose: to balance societal needs with best in class world-leading environmental protections. The mining industry – the very front end of our material supply chains – has long been held back by a broken permitting process that can largely be linked back to NEPA’s web of well-documented historical problems. These overdue reforms improve a process that has become a barrier to rebuilding and modernizing essential infrastructure in the U.S.”

Michele Stanley, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association: “The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association applauds the Administration for releasing the final rule that will bring much needed modernization and clarity to the National Environmental Policy Act process--while still maintaining strong environmental protections. Once enacted, this rule will remove unnecessary red tape and allow taxpayer dollars to be used to develop much needed infrastructure that sustains high-paying jobs, improves our communities and advance environmental stewardship. It has been more than 40 years since a comprehensive update of the NEPA regulations has been conducted. During this time the process has created duplicative agency actions resulting in year-long delays in the permitting of infrastructure projects. We have witnessed hundreds of public works projects, which are important to the livelihoods of all Americans, be halted and delayed by unnecessary lawsuits and bureaucratic setbacks that do nothing to advance the underlaying goals of NEPA. These setbacks caused by the current process is harming our economic potential needed to help our nation recover. Today’s action is an important step in unleashing our potential by allowing investments in renewable energy, clean drinking water, affordable housing, efficient transit and projects that reduced congestion and delays to finally move ahead.”  

Don L. Lee, President, New Mexico Federal Lands Council, Alamogordo, New Mexico:  “The National Environmental Policy Act is the most litigated environmental law in the country. Rather than conserving an environmental for the benefit of all, the 40-year-old NEPA has cost the nation, the environment and American families millions of dollars due to delayed or eliminated infrastructure projects large and small. This new rule balances the needs of the land, water and its’ creatures with those of the people who care for them for the benefit of all involved. We are particularly pleased with the time limit and page limits that are contained in the new rule. There is no way any citizen can review and comment on 600 plus page documents that can take nearly a decade to complete. We look forward to working with the new NEPA.”

Scott Jones, Authorized Representative, Off-Road Business Association: “We are thrilled that NEPA is becoming more effective and efficient with the new regulations. Too often lengthy NEPA analysis has delayed small projects such as maintenance, which results in unnecessary impacts to resources and low-quality recreational experiences for the public. The new regulations are a major step in avoiding this situation.”

John Richardson, President, Protect Americans Now, Winston, New Mexico: “For the past 40 years, the National Environmental Policy Act has been one of the biggest detriments to environmental conservation around. There were no clear definitions for federal agents to follow and apply creating litigious situations with no determination of what the appropriate level of review necessary for any project. We are pleased to see the expansion of public involvement and the improvement in coordination with State, Tribes and Localities. In the past the people most impacted by NEPA and its’ resulting decisions had the latest and the least input in the process.”

Bob Skinner, President, Public Lands Council: “The process updates to NEPA are celebrated across the West. Today’s rule recognizes the severe limitations of a policy that had not been updated in more than 40 years. Over the last four decades, ranchers learned and adapted to new needs of wildlife and other rangeland users, but outdated NEPA policy prevented us from responding to many critical situations. The changes finalized today bring NEPA up to date, focus the attention on the real issues at hand, and ensure the government is avoiding speculative and duplicative environmental reviews. Thank you to the Trump Administration for engaging and listening to stakeholders on the ground.”

Kaitlynn Glover, Executive Director, Public Lands Council; Executive Director of Natural Resources, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: “Over the last several decades, outdated NEPA processes have led to massive backlogs of federal grazing permits, delayed management actions critical to preventing dangerous wildfire conditions, and other missed opportunities to improve land health. NEPA has been exploited by extremist groups in an effort to remove livestock from the landscape. These changes bring common sense and good science back to the NEPA process and allow federal agencies to concentrate on the real impacts of a proposal in a timely manner. I speak on behalf of all ranchers in thanking the Administration for establishing a stronger future for wildlife, natural resources, and people across the country.”

Robert Henneke, Texas Public Policy Foundation: “We welcome the announcement of the new NEPA regulations, the most significant reforms to the federal environmental review process in over 40 years. These reforms include the limitation of NEPA reviews to 2 years, down from the current average of 4.5 years, and the streamlining of the review process that currently encompasses multiple federal agencies. By reducing the time and cost of complying with NEPA, these reforms will lead to more jobs and lower costs for American consumers while still maintaining America's world-leading environmental protections.”

Barry Worthington, Executive Director, United States Energy Association: “Under the old NEPA rule, the energy industry was constrained by overlapping and redundant regulations and an unnecessarily lengthy environmental assessment for each infrastructure project. Regardless of politics, this hurt all American energy consumers, and our allies who rely on our resources. President Trump is not rolling back regulations or removing environmental protections. Duplicative regulations make no sense. Why should several agencies or several states assess the exact same impact of a project? The old NEPA rule was like having to get a driver’s license from 50 different states. It was in need of an update. Waiting seven years for a proposed new bridge to start construction is often the reason bridges collapse, like the one in St. Paul, which collapsed in 2007. Critical infrastructure cannot wait, and it supersedes party lines. Democrats and the Trump administration agree we need infrastructure. It is one of the great equalizers of our society. Critical infrastructure to transport much-needed energy supplies to population centers can’t wait 4-7 years to start construction. All Americans need to feel secure that the roads and bridges they drive over are safe and modern. They need to rely on reliable electricity and energy supplies to live. That requires pipelines. The NEPA rule will also open the gateway for new renewable energy projects in a timely fashion. This is a bipartisan win. Environmental management and energy development go hand in hand. The Trump administration environmental policies have allowed our industry to thrive instead of being constrained. Our environment is protected, and our citizens are protected. Infrastructure expansion boosts our economy, while pipeline infrastructure helps improve our environment. After all, it’s natural gas that has helped drive down carbon emissions notwithstanding the drop in global emissions we’ve seen during this global pandemic. Infrastructure expansion puts the U.S. in a position of strength in the world. We are global suppliers of energy and leaders in energy access expansion. Trump administration policies to rollback redundant regulations encourage production and infuse certainty in the energy market. This creates jobs, grows our economy and propagates prosperity across the nation in all communities.”

Elston Grubaugh, General Manager, Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation & Drainage District: “As the General Manager of a distribution utility, I understand the hurdles NEPA creates for many of our infrastructure projects that have a Federal nexus. The final rule is an important step in the right direction for modernizing a forty-year-old process to reflect the technology and renewable energy needs of today.”     

Kathleen Sgamma, President, Western Energy Alliance: “For far too long, NEPA has been a tool used not for mitigating actual environmental impacts, but for stopping projects that create jobs and economic benefits for society. The recent ruling on the Dakota Access Pipeline is but another example of how endless rounds of NEPA threaten environmentally responsible energy infrastructure. As a functioning society, we must get a handle on NEPA to reach a reasonable balance between building infrastructure and protecting the environment. This administration has the courage to tackle this difficult issue, and we applaud the final rule.”


Senator John Hoeven (ND): “Infrastructure, whether it’s for mitigating natural disasters, producing energy or transporting people and goods, serves as the backbone of our economy. As we’ve seen with Dakota Access and other projects bogged down through litigation, the federal NEPA review process has often resulted in inflated costs and significant delays for a wide range of vital projects across our nation. This final rule is a welcome effort that builds on our record of providing regulatory certainty for future projects and will help taxpayer dollars go further as we work to build and repair the nation’s infrastructure.”

Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): “President Trump wants to rebuild America’s infrastructure with fewer hurdles from Washington’s overbearing bureaucracy. The National Environmental Policy Act regulations are outdated, burdensome, and unnecessarily complicated. It should not take longer to get the government’s approval for a project than it would take to build it. I support the finalized rule and call on my colleagues to support passing a comprehensive infrastructure package, incorporating the highway reauthorization and water infrastructure bills we unanimously passed through the Environment and Public Works committee.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01): “Today’s action by the Trump Administration to modernize the NEPA regulations will cut down on outdated, bureaucratic red-tape obstructing critical national and local infrastructure projects. Energy infrastructure, coastal restoration, and flood protection projects in Louisiana and across the country have long been delayed by a NEPA process that has become overly complex and burdensome. Instead of years-long reviews that produce 600+ page documents, these updated regulations will be more effective and will lead to simpler environmental reviews and more shovels in the ground on projects that will benefit Americans’ everyday lives. I applaud President Trump for his efforts to streamline and modernize NEPA regulations to promote economic growth and eliminate the unnecessary red tape that slows down critical infrastructure projects, all while continuing to protect our environment.”

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-At Large): “I applaud the Trump Administration’s commitment to streamlining burdensome NEPA requirements, which have obstructed energy development and critical infrastructure projects in Wyoming. For too long, NEPA’s out-of-date regulations have been abused by special-interest groups to silence the voice of local stakeholders in our state, delaying vital improvements to Wyoming’s roads, bridges, and waterways. The Trump Administration is continuing to fulfill his promise to get the government off the backs of hardworking Americans by decreasing overreach and red tape.”

Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (LA-05): “If our country is serious about cutting red tape, fostering growth in the private sector, and paving the way for a major infrastructure renewal, streamlining the NEPA review process is a critical step. This final rule is proof that we can protect our environment without sacrificing growth and opportunity. I applaud the Trump Administration for satisfying yet another promise in his pro-growth agenda that will benefit the American people in many ways.”

Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01): “Every administration for the past half a century has tried to untangle the mess Congress created by writing NEPA in the way it did. The House and Senate was smoking something when they enacted the obscure and flowery text of that 1965 law, and since then the courts, private business, and now special interest groups have spent unfathomable resources defining it for them. That’s not the way our form of government is supposed to work. Enacted with noble intent to expand public input and enhance environmentally conscious decisions, NEPA has morphed into a tool for excessive litigation to slow or block economic activity, including crucial projects to support clean water, affordable energy, and essential infrastructure. Today, the Administration made good on another promise to the American people. With this rule, we will have a modern environmental review process and greater regulatory certainty. Work in Congress remains to build upon and reinforce the critical work enshrined in this rule.”

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08): “The current National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process drowns much-needed infrastructure projects in unnecessary and outdated, bureaucratic red tape that costs local communities and businesses millions of dollars on lawyers and consultants. I am pleased to see the Trump Administration take much needed action in reforming and modernizing NEPA. These finalized changes will help streamline the federal permitting process and eliminate burdensome Washington red tape by improving coordination, setting time limits, and reducing frivolous litigation. The Trump Administration’s changes to NEPA put in place badly-needed commonsense reforms that ensure that the infrastructure projects crucial to growing our economy are completed in a timely and efficient manner while simultaneously maintaining high environmental protection standards.”

Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26):“The Trump Administration’s efforts in modernizing the NEPA carefully weighs the needs of our 21st century economy with the responsibility of being good shepherds of the nation’s environment and resources. By making these important changes, such as establishing reasonable time limits, streamlining inter-agency coordination, and reducing unnecessary paperwork, the Trump administration is removing federal barriers to developing a cleaner, more productive infrastructure system. The burdensome permitting procedures of NEPA have blocked the development of important systems such as pipelines, wind farms, interstate highways, and transmission lines. America can both manage its environmental impacts and address the needs of our nation for today and tomorrow.”

Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42: “Building the infrastructure our country desperately needs and protecting our environment are not mutually exclusive goals. The updates being made to NEPA today will enable communities across the country to build the infrastructure necessary to support their economic growth in a timely manner that maintains balanced environmental protections.”

Congressman James Comer (KY-01): “The Trump Administration’s bold action is a necessary step toward ensuring that costly and duplicate regulations do not slow down much needed infrastructure projects in America. Safely streamlining the environmental regulatory process will help expedite important projects, put Americans to work and unleash economic growth here at home.”

Congressman Paul Cook (CA-08): “This important rule change will streamline the environmental review and permitting process for critical infrastructure projects. The current process is fraught with bureaucratic red tape and onerous requirements, often needlessly delaying projects for years. I applaud the administration and the CEQ for implementing the new rule.”

Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01): “These much needed updates to the NEPA process will be a relief for Idaho and the many projects that have been blocked or delayed by unnecessary litigation and red tape. I applaud the Trump Administration for making these improvements to NEPA, and for prioritizing the need to reform bureaucratic, costly regulations that are holding our country back.”

Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): “Today’s announcement by the President that we are updating NEPA is welcome news for everyone in America who likes to see America build things and grow. For too long, NEPA has grown stale, wrapped in judicial decisions, lengthy paperwork requirements and more. What was originally just a checklist for project take off has become a process and court mandated demand for every possible consideration, theory and potential impact for entire industries wrapped onto one project. From offshore wind in the Atlantic to solar transmission in the southwest, and pipelines nationwide, we have seen the burden these impacts take in time, and project delays cost everyone: workers, consumers, and taxpayers. This new rule will make NEPA modern, it will speed planning, increase citizen engagement, and allow America to build great things once again.”

Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large): “The United States should always strive to be ahead of the curve for infrastructure and advancement while balancing environmental concerns. The modernization of the NEPA process is long overdue and will ensure critically important infrastructure projects are completed without bureaucratic delay."

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): “NEPA’s review processes are severely outdated, and as a result, it often takes years for important infrastructure projects to be approved. Too often, the unnecessary bureaucracy gets in the way of building water storage, roads, bridges, and other projects in a timely manner. Today’s final rule modernizes the environmental review process, and in turn, will speed up infrastructure projects that are much-needed across America. I’m glad the Trump Administration has finally cut the red tape around updating our infrastructure by streamlining the NEPA process.”

Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05): “The Trump Administration has consistently fought to overhaul duplicative and burdensome regulations. These updated NEPA regulations will streamline infrastructure development, reduce project costs, and provide much needed certainly to the permitting process. For far too long environmental extremists have weaponized the permitting process to block or needlessly delay critical infrastructure projects. These new reforms will drastically improve the decision making processes while also maintaining appropriate environmental protections and opportunities for public input. I am grateful that the Trump Administration continues to prioritize the revitalization of America.”

Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03): “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. 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.”

Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01): “I applaud President’s Trump’s actions in updating and streamlining NEPA regulations, paving the way for more timely, community-focused investments in critical infrastructure projects. Too often, outdated rules and bureaucratic red tape add unnecessary hurdles to these much-needed projects, creating a costly and time-consuming process for communities. These commonsense reforms will encourage economic growth while continuing to protect our environment for future generations.”

Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-02): “For far too long NEPA regulations have been outdated and excessive. These overly burdensome regulations delay construction projects that create jobs and improve our infrastructure. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, this new, effective system for environment reviews will help grow our economy and modernize our roads, bridges and highways.”

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02): “NEPA regulations affect a wide range of projects from construction of roads to land and forest management, but the current regulations have become overbearing and difficult for people to navigate. This new rule will allow us to move faster on infrastructure projects while still ensuring we keep our environment safe and clean. Thank you to the Trump Administration for cutting the red tape and removing job-killing regulations.”   

Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04): “Overregulation and unnecessary permitting delays have had negative impacts on our communities for decades, especially in rural areas. NEPA in its current form exemplifies ‘bureaucratic red tape’ – with evaluations taking up to 6 years to complete. Our constituents cannot afford these delays when trying to renew, maintain, or develop critical infrastructure projects across the country. Earlier this year, Republican Whip Scalise and I led 130 Members of Congress in a letter to support CEQ’s efforts to modernize NEPA, and I am glad to see the Administration following through on this regulatory relief. This rule will finally allow for a streamlined permitting approach, encourage environmental stewardship, and incentivize investment in our rural communities across the West and beyond.”

Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22): “While we need a proper review process for infrastructure projects, the NEPA process has stymied needed development to strengthen our communities. This update was sorely needed to streamline the environmental review process and move needed projects forward. I applaud the president for this rule change that will ensure that our critical infrastructure projects are not held up by litigation and the heavy hand of Washington.”  

Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08): “Reform of a broken and cumbersome NEPA process is vital for northern Minnesota. We need mining, road and bridge construction, harbor maintenance, renewable energy development, pipeline building, and electricity transmission if we are to compete with the rest of the world while providing high-wage jobs. Unfortunately, any progress on these projects has been hijacked time and again by well-funded activist groups working under the guise of conservation. Therefore, I applaud President Trump, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the rest of the Administration for rightfully moving forward with these commonsense reforms. I look forward to working with the Administration and putting northern Minnesota back to work.”

Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02) “NEPA was intended to lead to more informed decision making for federal projects, but it has become an expensive hindrance to getting infrastructure in place. I am happy to see changes that increase efficiency and effectiveness of NEPA for infrastructure projects.”

Congressman Greg Walden (OR-02): “Rural Oregonians know too well the burdens of our dated, slow and tedious NEPA regulations. They’ve watched for years as special interest groups have hijacked the process to drag out needed forest and range management projects that would improve the health of our public lands and reduce the threat of wildfire on our communities. A lot has changed in the last 40 years and a fresh look at these regulations is long overdue. President Trump’s actions to streamline this process will help ensure that we can better manage our forests, protect our communities and improve our nation’s transportation and energy infrastructure into the future.”

Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04): “NEPA is based on a good idea – oversight on government projects – but over the years it has morphed into a weapon for litigious environmental groups. Now, NEPA has become the most litigated environmental law in the country, delaying critical construction and infrastructure projects across America. This is untenable. The administration’s NEPA rule changes would set time limits for environmental reviews, clarify where NEPA applies, reduce frivolous litigation, cut back on unnecessary paperwork and more, maintaining the parts of NEPA that are effective and eliminating those that aren’t. I applaud the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

Congressman Don Young (AK-At Large): “When Congress originally drafted and passed NEPA, it was to be a simple, streamlined process. However, it has grown into a bureaucratic and lawsuit-prone monstrosity that has far exceeded its original congressional intent. The NEPA process is long, arduous, and frequently takes many years to complete. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam were finished in under a year; had NEPA existed then, this may not have been the case. There is no reason that these or other federal projects should be delayed by federal red tape. I applaud President Trump for recognizing the great regulatory burden of NEPA and taking action to reform the process.”

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