Hoeven Statement on Final Rule to Streamline NEPA Infrastructure Reviews

Senator Advancing Regulatory Relief, Increased Investment to Meet Nation’s Infrastructure Needs

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement after the administration released a final rule to modernize and streamline regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The rule 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. 

“Infrastructure, whether it’s for mitigating natural disasters, producing energy or transporting people and goods, serves as the backbone of our economy,” said Hoeven. “As we’ve seen with Dakota Access and other projects bogged down through litigation, the federal NEPA review process has often resulted in inflated costs and significant delays for a wide range of vital projects across our nation. This final rule is a welcome effort that builds on our record of providing regulatory certainty for future projects and will help taxpayer dollars go further as we work to build and repair the nation’s infrastructure.”

The administration’s final NEPA rule 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.
  • Deploying broadband infrastructure. Among other things, Hoeven has secured more than $1.6 billion across fiscal years 2018-2020 for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program. 
  • 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 last 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.