APWA – Congressional Republicans Work to Expand Trump Order on Streamlining

Congressional Republicans Work to Expand Trump Order on Streamlining

  • Congressional Republicans introduced legislation to expand on the Executive Order recently signed by President Trump urging federal agencies to accelerate projects on federal lands;
  • Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced two bills to change the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to speed up infrastructure projects;
  • The first, S. 3926, would amend the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to give “project proponents more control over the timetable, and prevents litigants from unnecessarily holding up projects;”
  • The second, S. 3927, would reduce the time that opponents could challenge a project permit or approval in court from 150 days to 90;
  • In the House, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) introduced H.R. 7130, which would codify into law the president’s 2017 executive order consolidating the review process across federal agencies;
  • APWA supports various elements of these bills in comments submitted in March on NEPA reforms, including:
    • Establishing a time limit of two years for completion of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and one year for Environmental Assessments (EA);
    • Establishing a 300-page limit for each EIS and a 75-page limit for each EA;
    • Establishing a lead federal agency to develop a joint review schedule, and preparation of a single EIS and joint record of decision for projects that require multi-agency reviews;
    • Excluding non-federal projects (or those with minimal federal funding or involvement) from the NEPA review process;
    • Reducing duplication between federal, state and local governments by facilitating the use of documentation required by other statutes to comply with NEPA.
  • APWA is supportive of previous efforts to streamline regulations, including under the FAST Act and the “One Federal Decision” executive order;
  • APWA’s comments also reinforce the need for state and local control in infrastructure projects;
  • APWA members do not support inserting a “shot-clock” regarding permit review in any update of the NEPA regulations;
  • The comments make clear the need to keep “cumulative reviews” as a part of NEPA in order to accurately assess environmental impacts and resiliency of infrastructure.

Published by Peter Cavalli, MPA

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