Portman, Sullivan Lead Effort to Overturn Biden’s Onerous NEPA Rules, Save Historic Infrastructure Investments

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) have introduced S.J. Res. 55, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), with all 48 of their Senate Republican colleagues to nullify the Biden administration’s new regulation, “National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Regulations Revisions”. These regulations, authored by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), undermine important provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act intended to streamline key elements of our broken federal permitting process. Senator Portman served as the chief Republican negotiator for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which invested hundreds of billions of dollars in repairing, upgrading, and modernizing our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and included Portman’s Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act to make FAST-41 permanent, improve the federal permitting process for some of the largest infrastructure projects, and build on efforts to update this process created in 2015. 

“I urge my colleagues to pass this Resolution of Disapproval and to support regulatory policies that are pro-growth and will help reduce—not exacerbate—soaring energy prices,” said Senator Portman. “The rule this resolution addresses complicates the environmental review and permitting process—a process that is already slow, expensive, and hard to navigate.  This is the wrong approach when our country desperately needs to invest in critical infrastructure and energy production.”

“I want to thank all of my Republican colleagues for cosponsoring this resolution. A broad coalition in Congress last year included commonsense permitting reforms in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to ensure that projects wouldn’t be stalled by endless review and delay,” said Senator Sullivan. “Remarkably, those important provisions to cut federal red tape, supported by America’s workers, are now being killed by the Biden administration’s new NEPA regulations. The bridges and roads, pipelines and tunnels, ports and runways that American taxpayers were promised will now suffer from an increasing regulatory quagmire. It doesn’t have to be this way. When NEPA was originally enacted, the average environmental impact statement took less than a year to complete. Today, the average EIS takes four to six years to complete at a cost of several millions of dollars. My resolution will work to end this bureaucratic stagnation. Because of the provisions of the Congressional Review Act, my Senate Democratic colleagues will have to vote and make a choice: Will they capitulate to the far-left radical environmentalists, or will they stand with the American people and the hard-working men and women of this country who build the vital hard infrastructure projects we need? There won’t be any hiding from this vote. It will be very interesting to see who my Democratic colleagues stand with. I know who I stand for: the men and women who build our country.”

The CRA provides Congress an expedited mechanism to overturn certain federal agency regulations and actions through a joint resolution of disapproval. A joint resolution of disapproval under the CRA is afforded special procedures, bypassing normal Senate rules and allowing for a vote on the Senate floor. If a CRA joint resolution of disapproval is approved by a simple majority in both houses of Congress and signed by the President—or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto—the rule is invalidated.

Senators Portman and Sullivan’s CRA resolution is cosponsored by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Thune (R-SD), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IO), Chuck Grassley (R-IO), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Todd Young (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

NOTE: Since 2015, when Portman’s bipartisan Federal Permitting Improvement Act was signed into law as Title 41 of the FAST Act (FAST-41), the Senator has consistently worked to update our aging infrastructure and create good jobs while expanding transparency in the permitting process and promoting better coordination between federal agencies.  

In November, Portman’s Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act to make FAST-41 permanent, improve the federal permitting process for some of the largest infrastructure projects, and build on efforts to update this process created in 2015 was signed into law as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The legislation received widespread support from national business and union leaders. 

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