WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) on Tuesday introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at reforming the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in order to streamline infrastructure projects.
The first bill, the Federal Permitting Modernization Act of 2020, establishes a series of deadlines for agency action under the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act), which gives project proponents more control over the timetable and prevents litigants from unnecessarily holding up projects. The second bill would dramatically shorten the timetable to file a petition for judicial review of a permit, license or approval of an infrastructure project from 150 days, to 90 days.
Upon introducing the two bills, Sen. Cruz said:
“For far too long, complying with NEPA has hindered key infrastructure projects, and in some cases, has left projects effectively halted in court. These much-needed reforms will streamline the approval process and roll back burdensome delays – all of which are needed to get the boot of big government off the backs of businesses and help get men and women all across the country back to work.”
Sen. Cotton said:
“Keeping our infrastructure up-to-date is important for the economy and for keeping America competitive in the global market. Too often burdensome litigation causes our hardworking men and women to sit idle on jobsites as they wait on court processes. The reforms we’re incorporating in NEPA will expedite the often lengthy and onerous process so that Arkansans can quickly get back to work.”
Sen. Lankford added:
“The federal permitting process has become overly complicated leading to unnecessary delays for important infrastructure projects in Oklahoma. These two bills reform the National Environmental Policy Act to protect the environment and provide permitting certainty for projects across the nation, which are critical to the smooth functioning of our economy. There is no better time than now to pursue real reforms that would cut red tape and speed up construction. I am proud to join in this effort.”
This follows President Trump’s rule change earlier this year, which Sen. Cruz commended.