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National Environmental Policy Act


In July 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality issued an ABC-supported final rule to modernize the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act regulations.

In 2021, the CEQ under Biden announced it would issue a multistep proposal to revise the 2020 final rule.

In November 2021, ABC and a coalition of stakeholders submitted comments in support of a streamlined approach to the permitting process under NEPA to reduce delays hindering critical projects, resulting in better infrastructure, a stronger economy and continued environmental stewardship.

On April 19, 2022, the CEQ announced its final rule revising the implementation regulations of NEPA, which will cause needless delays for small businesses and increase costs for taxpayers. Read ABC’s statement on the new final rule. ABC supports passage of S.J.Res.55, introduced by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, which would overturn the final rule and preserve the July 2020 reforms. The resolution passed the Senate on Aug. 4, in a 50-47 vote and now awaits action in the House. 

On Sept. 27, ABC sent a letter to the Senate outlining ABC’s support for Sen. Shelley Capito’s, R-W.Va., Simplify Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency Act. The START Act, which counters the energy permitting reform legislation from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would address many of the priorities of the merit shop construction industry in reforming the permitting process for critical energy and natural resource construction projects.

On July 31, 2023 CEQ issued a proposed rule regarding Phase 2 of revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act implementing regulations. The proposal would make wide-ranging changes that would add unnecessarily burdensome and costly provisions to the federal environmental review and permitting process.

On Sept. 29, BC submitted comments with a coalition of industry stakeholders urging CEQ to withdraw the proposed rule, which would reverse critical streamlining provisions of the ABC-supported 2020 NEPA rule. While technically implementing some of the much-needed, bipartisan NEPA reforms supported by ABC in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the comments outline how the proposed rule seeks to undermine and weaken the FRA’s reforms and therefore defies the intent of Congress to provide certainty regarding permitting of critical infrastructure projects.

Desired Outcome

ABC supports NEPA modernization that creates a coordinated, predictable and transparent method for permitting. ABC will continue to advocate for sensible reforms, such as “one federal decision” language included in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget while protecting communities and the environment.

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