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Press Release

Westerman Applauds Permitting Provisions in Fiscal Responsibility Act

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Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement about the permitting reform provisions included in the Fiscal Responsibility Act:

"Burdensome regulations smother all sectors of the American economy while ultimately doing more harm to the environment than good. While science and technology advances make energy, mining and infrastructure development safer and cleaner by the day, federal regulations continue holding us back and making us more dependent on our adversaries. Speaker McCarthy understands the importance of modernizing these regulations, and that's why the Fiscal Responsibility Act includes many of the reforms we've advanced from the House Committee on Natural Resources. These provisions will make it easier to build in America, speed up timelines for critical infrastructure projects and reduce the burden on taxpayers by creating efficiencies in the permitting process. I'm honored to have moved these priorities through regular order in our committee, and know they will save taxpayer money while allowing our economy to grow. I hope to see them signed into law this week."


The Fiscal Responsibility Act contains many of the key provisions from the Building U.S. Infrastructure through Limited Delays and Efficient Reviews (BUILDER) Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) and passed in the House of Representatives as a part of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, introduced by Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.). 

The legislation will codify many of the Trump-era regulations regarding the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including:

  • Implementing the One Federal Decision framework for all projects that must undergo NEPA review, facilitating the designation of a lead agency to set a permitting schedule and utilization of a single document for environmental reviews involving multiple agencies.
  • Setting 150-page limits for environmental impact statements (300 pages if the project is of extraordinary complexity) and 75-page limits for environmental assessments. 
  • Setting time limits of one year for environmental assessments and two years for environmental impact statements and providing a right of action to project applicants if the agency does not adhere to these deadlines. 
  • Permitting project sponsors to assist agencies in conducting environmental reviews to help speed up the process. 
  • Allowing agencies to adopt categorical exclusions utilized by other agencies through a streamlined process.
  • Clarifying the definition of a "major federal action" under NEPA, including a list of actions that do not qualify as a "major federal action."
  • Directing the Council on Environmental Quality to conduct a study on modernizing the NEPA process by utilizing digital technologies to create an online portal to streamline communications and data sharing between agencies and project applicants.