Coalition Letter on Amendment 72 to H.R. 7608

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 4:15pm

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

            The undersigned trade associations and labor unions oppose amendment #72 to Division C of  H.R. 7608, the first package of appropriations legislation that would block implementation of recently completed reforms to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.  These important reforms will ensure a federal permitting process that is predictable and transparent, where “go” or “no go” decisions are made in a reasonable timeframe, and facilitates getting Americans back to work rebuilding critical infrastructure that will move people, goods, energy and information. 

            Our organizations strongly support a thorough environmental review process for projects under NEPA, but it should not take longer to get a decision on a permit than it would for construction of a project.  Unfortunately, that is often the case today.  NEPA’s permitting procedures have not been comprehensively updated since the 1970s and since then, the review times have increased to 4.5 years on average and to almost seven years for transportation projects.  Reducing delays for sustainable transportation projects would reduce congestion related emissions and improve the quality of life for communities.  

            Building the economy of the future means addressing the growing demand for critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railways, airways, waterways, transit, housing, telecommunications, and energy projects of all types.  A modernized NEPA process would improve our ability to meet that demand.  As the U.S. is undergoing important conversations about inequality of opportunity, the predictability and transparency provided by these reforms can accelerate investment in infrastructure such as better access to broadband and mass transit that will serve underprivileged communities and create economic opportunities. 

            The NEPA updates are critically important to a broad group of stakeholders including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, building trades unions, renewable and conventional energy, surface transportation, and broadband.  We remain committed to working with legislators, regulators, and all stakeholders to return NEPA to its original intent—a timely and focused review of environmental impacts—rather than a tool to delay projects for years and even decades.  We urge you to oppose any amendment to FY2021 appropriations language such as amendment #72 that would block these important NEPA updates.   

                                                            Sincerely,

Agricultural Retailers Association

American Chemistry Council

American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute

American Council for Capital Formation

American Council of Engineering Companies

American Exploration & Production Council

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Forest & Paper Association

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers

American Gas Association

American Highway Users Alliance

American Petroleum Institute

American Public Gas Association

American Road & Transportation Builders Association

American Sheep Industry Association

American Trucking Associations

American Wood Council

Associated Builders and Contractors

Associated General Contractors of America

Association of American Railroads

Association of Oil Pipe Lines

Consumer Energy Alliance

Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance

Federal Forest Resource Coalition

The Fertilizer Institute

Hardwood Federation

Independent Petroleum Association of America

LNG Allies, The US LNG Association

National Association of Chemical Distributors

National Association of Home Builders

National Association of Manufacturers

National Cattlemen's Beef Association

National Lime Association

National Mining Association

National Ocean Industries Association

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association

North America’s Building Trades Unions

Portland Cement Association

Public Lands Council

U.S. Chamber of Commerce