Hoeven: Administration Proposes to Streamline & Modernize NEPA Review Process for Infrastructure

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement after the administration announced a proposal to modernize and streamline regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposal seeks to prevent delays for infrastructure projects by establishing a two-year time limit for the completion of federal environmental impact statements and a one-year limit for environmental assessments. Further, the new rule would promote information sharing and efficiency among federal agencies as well as better collaboration with state, local and tribal governments. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will receive public input on the proposal for the next 60 days, before issuing a final rule.

“NEPA has only been significantly updated once in its history, more than thirty years ago, and this outdated process imposes significant cost and burdens on new infrastructure and other projects across the nation,” said Hoeven. “Decades of clarifying regulations, judicial review and administrative directives have severely complicated the ability of states, localities and businesses’ to comply with the federal environmental review process. We welcome the administration’s move to assist with modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, which is badly in need of repair and expansion, and we look forward to reviewing the final proposal.” 

Today’s proposal aligns with Hoeven’s efforts to provide regulatory relief and advance innovative solutions to help address national and local infrastructure needs. This includes:

  • Advancing his Move America Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to help grow and repair the country’s infrastructure. Qualified projects include roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail, airports, water and sewer facilities and rural broadband.
  • Hoeven’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mineral Spacing Act, which would waive the permit requirement when the federal government controls less than 50 percent of subsurface minerals and there is no federal surface land. 
    • The bill is also included in the ONSHORE Act, which he introduced with Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to empower states with the authority to manage oil and gas permitting on federal lands within their borders.
  • His work with the Department of State to streamline the permitting process for cross-border energy infrastructure projects, like pipelines and electrical transmission lines, similar to his North American Energy Infrastructure Act.
  • Filling vacant positions at the Dakota Prairie Grasslands offices in order to more quickly process Surface Use Plans of Operations (SUPO).
    • The senator emphasized this priority with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief when he hosted her in North Dakota earlier this year.
    • Hoeven also included a measure in the Senate’s FY2020 funding legislation encouraging USFS to hire staff that fill these vacancies under the National Grasslands.