By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The U.S. Senate Oct. 26 introduced a bill that uses time limits to help modernize the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) review and approval process for federal projects. It also expands NEPA delegation to states, which allows them to assume responsibility from the federal government for environmental reviews, a program long supported by ARTBA.

The “Undoing NEPA’s Substantial Harm by Advancing Concepts that Kickstart Liberation of the Economy” (UNSHACKLE) Act, S. 4862, would legislatively implement President Donald Trump’s 2017 “One Federal Decision” executive order, which consolidates all permitting decisions for major projects under one federal “lead” agency and sets a two-year average for completing NEPA reviews. The proposed reforms also mirror those enacted in regulations earlier this year by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

ARTBA and a coalition of industry allies are currently defending CEQ’s NEPA reforms in federal court. We will continue to be at the forefront of NEPA reform discussions and alert members to any new developments with the UNSHACKLE Act or further legal developments.