Sep 29, 2023 Unlock American Investment Coalition NEPA Phase 2 Comments
Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Council on Environmental Quality; National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Regulations Revisions Phase 2 (88 Fed. Reg. 49,924, July 31, 2023)
Dear Chair Mallory:
The undersigned associations (collectively, the “Coalition”) offer the following comments in response to the Council on Environmental Quality’s (“CEQ’s”) proposed National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) Implementing Regulations Revisions Phase 2 (“Proposed Rule”).1 Our organizations represent a diverse set of economic sectors that form the backbone of the American economy – agriculture, energy, construction, mining, forestry, manufacturing, transportation, and other sectors. …
CEQ should withdraw the Proposed Rule and modify it in accordance with these comments before considering promulgating a new proposed rule for additional public review and comment. These comments address four central flaws in the Proposed Rule:
- The Proposed Rule is written to drive policy outcomes. In so doing, the Proposed Rule exceeds the bounds of the letter and intent of NEPA.
- The Proposed Rule fails to fulfill the specific requirements and overall purpose of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The FRA amended NEPA to address permitting delays. The Proposed Rule would only exacerbate delays and complexity driven by new requirements that would inevitably be followed by litigation.
- The Proposed Rule would add new requirements that would further delay and complicate reviews, including requirements that are outside the permissible bounds of the statute itself. In addition, the Proposed Rule adds a new global dimension to required environmental analysis, improperly stepping away from the statute’s focus on “present and future generations of Americans.”
- The Proposed Rule would remove key process improvements from the 2020 NEPA rule. If made final, the Proposed Rule would not fix the widely acknowledged project delays caused by federal NEPA reviews, delays that continue to plague critical projects, including projects needed to fulfill Congress’ recent investments in energy and infrastructure.