By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA
A March 28 executive order by President Donald Trump removes climate change analysis from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) project reviews.
ARTBA has repeatedly called on the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to end such consideration, noting that climate change is beyond the scope and purpose of NEPA, which is meant to deal with present environmental issues. For transportation projects, this means tangible effects on the environment, such as removal of wetlands and impacts to wildlife.
Climate change impacts are speculative and may not be realized until long after a project is completed.
Trump’s order and CEQ’s removal of climate change consideration from NEPA reviews is win for the recommendations in ARTBA’s January 2017 report “Ripe for Reform: Federal Regulatory Issues Impacting Transportation Project Delivery.”
ARTBA, Industry Allies Support Small Business Regulatory Reform Legislation
ARTBA and a coalition of other industry trade groups are supporting legislation to ease regulatory burdens on small businesses.
The “Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2017” would require more analysis by federal agencies to determine how proposed regulations impact small businesses. The proposal would also strengthen the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, which helps the small business community raise regulatory concerns with other federal agencies.
In April 3 letters to both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the coalition noted that small businesses “are responsible for about 60 percent of all net new jobs from 2010 through 2013, yet they are disproportionately impacted by compliance burdens associated with regulation. Small businesses with less than 50 employees pay $11,724 per employee per year in regulatory compliance. For small manufacturers, the compliance cost per employee triples to $34,671. The ability of small businesses to operate efficiently and free of unnecessary regulatory burdens is critical for competing and creating jobs.”
The legislation has yet to receive a floor vote in either chamber.