AGC tells White House Council on Environmental Quality at a public meeting how its proposal to implement the first significant NEPA reforms in 40 years could actually make the permitting process worse.
At a September 11 public meeting, AGC shared its concerns and recommendations regarding the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) proposed Phase 2 revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Regulations. AGC is concerned that the proposed revisions could complicate and prolong infrastructure projects, jeopardizing the potential benefits of recent legislative acts. Delays can increase project costs and even lead to abandonment. Efficiency is essential for timely community benefits, resilience, and economic strength.
AGC offered the following key points:
- First, the proposal must align with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023's (FRA) aim for less complexity. It should simplify processes, allowing applicant-prepared documents, clarity on time limits, and adherence to FRA provisions.
- Second, the proposed revisions aim at driving favored policy outcomes and could hinder efficiency and fairness by dictating specific outcomes rather than focusing on informed decision-making.
- Third, we urge the retention of key process improvements from previous regulations, ensuring a focus on "reasonably foreseeable effects."
- Lastly, the proposal's inclusion of climate impacts and "innovative approaches" may lead to uncertainty and delays, undermining NEPA's purpose.
In conclusion, AGC seeks a balance between environmental concerns and efficient infrastructure development. If CEQ proceeds with the proposed rule, agencies must continue NEPA reviews without unnecessary delays.
AGC followed up its oral remarks with a written statement, and it will submit additional comments prior to the September 29 deadline.
For more information on CEQ’s NEPA regulations, click here.
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