(Press Release, January 10, 2020)
Boise, Idaho – Today, Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher, applauded the Trump administration’s proposed rule to modernize and accelerate the antiquated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process.
“The NEPA review process is the epitome of bureaucratic inefficiency,” said Risch. “The years-long delays in the process are costing Idaho businesses and innovators precious time and resources, and there’s next to no evidence that an environmental review that drags on for 7 years protects the environment more effectively than one completed in 2 years. The president’s proposed updates to this more than 40-year-old law will streamline the NEPA review process while ensuring we can continue to be responsible stewards of our environment.”
“The outdated regulations have slowed and impeded the development of needed infrastructure in communities across the nation,” said Crapo. “Updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to facilitate more efficient, effective and timely environmental reviews is a win for Idaho and the nation. President Trump’s plan will reduce unnecessary paperwork and delays, and promote better decision-making consistent with NEPA’s statutory requirements.”
“NEPA reform is long overdue and Idaho’s infrastructure will benefit from desperately needed projects that are waiting for approval,” said Simpson. “Not to be overlooked is the health of our forests and the reduced risk of wildfires. We need to give land managers the tools they need to manage our forests and public lands so Idahoans can continue to enjoy them.”
“These improvements to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are critical to the prosperity of our rural communities,” said Fulcher. “NEPA regulations often provide unnecessary and lengthy delays in the permitting process that add costs and disrupt projects in Idaho. Improving and shortening the NEPA process will decrease wildfire risk, widen highways in Idaho, and bring jobs to communities near federal land without sacrificing the environment. I applaud President Trump and his team for taking this step and I look forward to the final rule.”
Background: NEPA has remained nearly unchanged since it was signed into law in the 1970s, incurring only one limited amendment in 1986. This lack of modernization has resulted in a stagnated environmental review process. Today, it takes an average of almost 5 years to complete an environmental impact statement, with highways averaging over 7 years.
The modernizations proposed by the Trump administration will improve collaboration and reduce red tape by establishing time limits of 2 years for completion of environmental impact statements and one year for completion of environmental assessments. This proposed rule will result in greater prosperity for Idaho workers and communities while continuing to protect the environment.