Sullivan Welcomes First NEPA Regulatory Modernization in 40 Years

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) released the following statement regarding the Trump administration’s notice today of a final rule to modernize and accelerate environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the first update of NEPA regulations in more than 40 years. The rule, titled Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, was first announced in January and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow. 

“Before the ink is even dry on the President’s final rule reforming federal environmental permitting processes, many national media outlets are casting the move as a ‘weakening’ of environmental protections,” said Senator Sullivan. “What is rarely mentioned is the fact that, as they currently stand, these regulations kill jobs. It takes an average of four-and-a-half to six years just to complete an Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA and nine to nineteen years to fully permit a highway in America. Democrats and Republicans agree our infrastructure is in desperate need of revitalization, but the existing NEPA process all but ensures it will be years before we see the jobs and improvements we need—even if we passed a major infrastructure package tomorrow. 

“President Trump and his administration are making the right call to reform our NEPA regulations so that we can protect the environment we all cherish and also bring our highways, airports, harbors and utilities into the 21st century. I also thank the President and his team for incorporating a significant portion of my Rebuild America Now Act, which I’m still working to get through the Senate, to codify realistic NEPA deadlines, simplify NEPA documents, and further streamline the NEPA process. These kinds of reforms are supported by hard-working Alaskans who build big things—pipelines, bridges and roads—and I’m proud to stand with them.”

In 2017, Senator Sullivan introduced the Rebuild America Now (RAN) Act, legislation that provides a sound and detailed blueprint for fixing America’s broken public-works, NEPA, and permitting processes. The RAN Act, much of which is reflected in the Trump administration’s proposal, provides realistic deadlines for environmental reviews, streamlines the coordination of our outdated permitting process and limits unnecessary and frivolous delays.

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