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NEPA Reforms a Big Step toward Correcting Worst Abuses of Environmental Permitting Process

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The White House Council on Environmental Quality today released a proposed rule reforming the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment Myron Ebell said:

“The administration’s proposed reforms of NEPA regulations are a big step toward correcting the worst abuses of the environmental permitting process. Over the decades, bad court decisions and bureaucratic laziness have turned NEPA from a sensible tool to consider the environmental impacts of major projects into a weapon used to delay projects to death. 

“American infrastructure lags other developed countries because getting a NEPA permit and successfully defending it from multiple legal challenges takes many years and often over a decade. In no other country does it regularly take as long to permit an infrastructure project. The same is true of major natural resource projects, which is why, for example, new mines open much more often in Canada than in the United States.

“We hope the administration will take the next step and propose needed legislative reforms to NEPA for Congress to consider.”

CEI senior fellow Ben Lieberman said:

“The original purpose of NEPA was to require a timely environmental assessment of major projects, not to substantially delay or block them entirely. But in the hands of environmentalist litigants, this statute has morphed into a project killer which has recently been used to stop fossil fuel production and infrastructure based on climate change concerns and thus threatens to derail the Trump administration’s energy dominance agenda. This proposed rule restores NEPA’s original intent of taking environmental concerns into consideration without destroying jobs or harming the economy.”

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