Ag Groups Welcome NEPA Reforms

Agriculture groups welcome the announced changes by the Trump Administration to the National Environmental Policy Act. The White House says the final rule will modernize and accelerate environmental reviews under NEPA so infrastructure can be built in a timely, efficient, and affordable manner.

President Donald Trump saidf, “By streamlining infrastructure approvals, we’ll further expand America’s unprecedented economic boom.”

“Overregulation and unnecessary permitting delays have had negative impacts on our communities for decades, especially in rural areas,” said Representative Dan Newhouse. “NEPA in its current form exemplifies ‘bureaucratic red tape’ – with evaluations taking up to 6 years to complete. Our constituents cannot afford these delays when trying to renew, maintain, or develop critical infrastructure projects across the country.

“Earlier this year, Republican Whip Scalise and I led 130 Members of Congress in a letter to support CEQ’s efforts to modernize NEPA, and I am glad to see the Administration following through on this regulatory relief,” Newhouse added. “This rule will finally allow for a streamlined permitting approach, encourage environmental stewardship, and incentivize investment in our rural communities across the West and beyond.”

The Ag Retailers Association supports the reforms. ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock says the final rule will speed up the approval process for much-needed infrastructure projects, “which will especially benefit the rural communities in which ag retailers and their customers live and work.”

The Fertilizer Institute applauded the rule’s finalization, stating, “Many of our members have been negatively impacted by outdated NEPA guidelines.” However, Environmental groups object. Natural Resources Defense Council CEO and Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy says the rule “is a clear attempt to silence and sideline people to make it easier for industry to pollute our communities.”

NEPA regulations control how the federal government processes environmental permits, but it has often been used to block and delay important infrastructure projects. The new regulations will modernize, simplify, and accelerate the environmental review process necessary to build a wide range of projects in the United States, including roads, bridges, and highways. The rule will also provide needed certainty for project sponsors and will facilitate the rebuilding of America. 

Click here for the text of the final rule.

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