WASHINGTON, DC – July 22, 2020 – On July 15, the Council on Environmental Quality issued a final rule on updating and modernizing its National Environmental Policy Act regulations.
Following the issuance of the NEPA final rule, ABC’s Vice President of Legislative & Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen issued the following statement:
“The modernization of these critical regulations will go a long way toward eliminating unnecessary delays that cause budget overruns in construction. Construction businesses recovering from the ongoing health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 will surely benefit from these modifications, which will help reduce costs and speed up project approvals so that hardworking U.S. workers can get back on the job quickly and safely.
“The coordinated, predictable and transparent process to streamline permitting will also enable the industry to plan and execute even the most complex projects while safeguarding our communities, maintaining a healthy environment and being good stewards of public funds.”
According to CEQ’s fact sheet, “For the first time in over 40 years, CEQ has comprehensively updated its National Environmental Policy Act regulations to modernize the federal environmental review process, which will benefit the environment, economy and every American. The regulations, which apply to all federal agencies, have been complex and unnecessarily difficult to understand and navigate. The result has been excessive paperwork, litigation and delays. Environmental impact statements for federal highway projects have averaged over seven years to complete and some reviews have taken a decade or more. The modernized regulations will promote more efficient, effective and timely environmental reviews by all federal agencies.”
CEQ announced it received over 1.1 million public comments from a broad range of stakeholders relating to the regulations.
For further information on the final rule, visit CEQ’s NEPA Modernization page.
The coalition letter stated, “We fully support the fundamental goals of NEPA to appropriately consider the potential environmental impacts of federal actions. The coalition believes that CEQ’s proposed revisions refocus federal NEPA reviews on NEPA’s original purpose to facilitate excellent agency action through informed decision-making, accomplished through the same balanced goals as the original 1978 NEPA regulations: to reduce paperwork, to reduce delays, and at the same time to produce better decisions which further the national policy to protect and enhance the quality of the human environment. We urge CEQ to finalize updates to the NEPA implementing regulations to modernize the federal environmental review and permitting process under NEPA, with the goal of increasing infrastructure investment and project development in a manner that strengthens our economy and enhances environmental stewardship.”
On Jan. 9, ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman and Miller and Long employees Alan Michael Jenkins and James Spencer Johnson joined President Trump at the White House for the announcement of CEQ’s proposed rule. ABC stated, “ABC supports the modernization of these critical regulations and believes that these enhancements will go a long way toward eliminating unnecessary delays that cause budget overruns in construction. Creating a coordinated, predictable and transparent process to streamline permitting will enable the industry to plan and execute even the most complex projects while safeguarding our communities, maintaining a healthy environment and being good stewards of public funds.”
ABC is a member of the Unlock American Investment coalition, which says, “Updating NEPA will reduce delays hindering critical projects, resulting in better infrastructure, a stronger economy and continued environmental stewardship. Modernizing NEPA is the key to unblocking investments.” To learn more, see the coalition’s fact sheet.