AGC Opposes NEPA Overreach

AGC opposes the White House’s proposed changes to permitting review rules that could prolong construction project approval, despite recent AGC-backed legislative changes that direct the White House to streamline the process. 

As previously reported, AGC is concerned that changes proposed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) could complicate and prolong the approval of infrastructure projects, jeopardizing the potential benefits of recent legislative acts. On September 29, AGC joined 25 other industry groups in opposing CEQ’s proposed changes to the rules that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

In its comments, the industry coalition urges CEQ to revise the proposal to be more consistent with Congress’ recent reforms to NEPA in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2023 without making any further regulatory changes. AGC’s main concerns with the proposal are that it—

  • Drives policy outcomes and imposes substantive requirements, surpassing the bounds of NEPA—obscuring the fact that NEPA does not compel particular outcomes—and upending the core procedural role of the Act;
  • Exceeds the jurisdiction of CEQ by requiring federal agencies to engage in enforceable mitigation provisions;
  • Fails to incorporate streamlining provisions in the 2023 FRA, clashing with specific Congressional direction;
  • Adds requirements that would delay and complicate reviews, again exceeding the bounds of NEPA; and
  • Removes process improvements from the 2020 NEPA rule.

The White House’s proposal would increase the complexity of analysis that agencies will need to perform, reducing the efficiency of the environmental review process, delaying decision-making, spurring risk and litigation, and ultimately blocking the realization of critical investments both envisioned by recently enacted legislation and otherwise needed.

For more information, please contact Leah Pilconis at [email protected].

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