NEPA Reform Overdue: Broken, Abused Law Must Be Modernized for Real Progress to Occur

AEA salutes first U.S. President in 30+ years bold enough to de-politicize permitting, infrastructure improvement process

WASHINGTON DC (January 9, 2020) – Thomas Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, issued the following statement in response to a deliberative/pre-decisional draft memo from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regarding proposed rulemaking modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Once the proposed rules are filed in the federal register, the public will have 60 days to comment on them.

When it was first signed into law in 1970, NEPA served as a way for federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions, helping them to balance a range of interests. Today, NEPA is a massively expensive and time-consuming liability that threatens to derail crucial infrastructure and energy development projects. NEPA, as it currently operates, is the model of an outdated regulation that has been exploited beyond recognition from its original purpose.

For example, Section 2 reads:

The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man…

“I’ve never questioned the merits behind NEPA and no one is honestly talking about a full repeal, but it is undeniably outdated and being abused to stop economic growth in the misleading rally cry of environmental, climate change protection. It needs to be fixed and we have a President bold enough to address its ineffective process. The mere fact that President Trump is attempting to modernize one of the most inefficient, growth-slowing, infrastructure-stopping laws is victory alone.”

“Americans need (and deserve) updated infrastructure to get them safely where they need to go and ensure affordable, reliable energy arrives to their cities, communities, businesses, and homes. Radical environmental groups have twisted the intent behind NEPA and leveraged the legal system to their advantage in a coordinated effort to slow and stop progress and I welcome the news that President Trump plans stop them in his commitment to make America great again.”

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