Dear Chair Neumayr,
We urge CEQ to issue updates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations to modernize the Federal environmental review and permitting process with the goal of increasing infrastructure investment and project development in a manner that strengthens our economy and enhances environmental stewardship.
Our organizations represent broad sectors such as agriculture, energy, forestry, manufacturing, and transportation that form the backbone of America’s industrial economy, and we fully support the fundamental goals of NEPA to appropriately consider the potential environmental impacts of certain federal actions. However, CEQ regulations guiding NEPA processes have not been comprehensively updated in nearly four decades. During this time, securing approval for projects and land management decisions has become hampered by unreasonable costs and long project delays. It is time to modernize NEPA processes.
Reducing delays and uncertainties associated with infrastructure investment and related projects has the potential to support more and better-paying jobs throughout the country. Various private and public organizations estimate the creation of up to 13,000 jobs for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure. America’s infrastructure and natural resources — from roads, bridges, airports, railways, airways and waterways to energy and industrial facilities, telecommunications networks, and other public assets — are vital to economic activity, investment, trade, and commerce both domestically and abroad. Recent economic growth has only increased the demand for such infrastructure services and maintenance.