U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge., today introduced the Building U.S. Infrastructure through Limited Delays and Efficient Reviews Act, which aims to modernize the National Environmental Policy Act to make infrastructure project reviews more efficient and reduce project costs.
Modernizing NEPA would help fast track Louisiana’s coastal restoration projects, transportation projects and energy infrastructure priorities—stimulating economic development and job opportunities, Grave’s office says in a news release.
“The National Environmental Policy Act was enacted in 1970 to ensure the productive coexistence between the environment and the American people, but after 50 years of bureaucratic desk-jockeying, it has become an unproductive obstacle,” Graves says in a prepared statement. He adds that NEPA review is “project purgatory” and this legislation aims to update the approval system while continuing to protect the environment.
Graves’ bill is backed and co-sponsored by ranking members of multiple U.S. House committees.
According to Graves, the bill will ensure environmental scrutiny for projects without excessive delays or cost and ensure “practical project timelines.”
While Graves’ announcement doesn’t say exactly how the bill would speed up project timelines, it says the legislation will clarify the duties and tasks of each government entity participating in a project’s environmental review and eliminate vague or outdated provisions to make compliance easier.