Washington, D.C. – Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), the leading voice for sensible energy policies for families and businesses, applauds the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) actions to modernize National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.
“We applaud the Administration’s action to create regulatory certainty and consistency that maintains important environmental protections and public participation in the process,” said CEA President David Holt. “Not only will these new streamlined regulations help our farmers and ranchers, they will also aid energy infrastructure developers – from wind and solar to traditional fuels — who rely on the speed of deployment to meet the renewable integration targets that our communities demand.”
“For far too long, NEPA regulations have been weaponized by anti-business groups who have repeatedly exploited the rules to litigate endlessly to cause delay and drive up costs, making projects uneconomical and ultimately increasing energy bills for families and small businesses. We’ve seen it time and time again. And some of these groups even gloat that their strategy of suing projects into costly limbo is working. No American who believes in fair competition, and consistent, uniform and transparent standards should cheer for this harmful approach.”
Under the prior NEPA regulations – which hadn’t been updated in 40 years – much-needed infrastructure and energy projects were stalled out and harder to complete due to burdensome regulations that made the average time to reach a final federal decision 4-and-a-half years, with final environmental impact statements averaging 600 pages. More than 100 projects stretched past a decade to 17 years or more before approval, according to a government study. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. infrastructure a D+, showing the inherent danger to our roads and bridges and highlighting the inadequacies in our energy delivery infrastructure.
“Instead of litigation and delay, these modernized regulations will help create a more proactive NEPA process by augmenting and front-loading community input and organizational guidance through an early project scoping process. By helping the reviewing agency consider scientific information, alternatives and other public feedback in the early part of the formal procedure, we can alleviate project paralysis brought on through litigious outcomes that could arise following a decision.”
“With the latest technology, planning and engineering at our fingertips, there is no better time to modernize our nation’s infrastructure. This new common-sense NEPA framework will help to get American families and businesses back to work, support efforts to secure an American-based supply chain, and reduce the burden of energy costs on our communities – something that’s desperately needed now more than ever as we rebuild from COVID-19.”