The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently criticized the White House’s final guidance for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental reviews, citing its potential to hinder development and land management projects.
“While we fully support the fundamental goal of NEPA, which is to ensure that the impact on the environment is considered in proposed federal actions, we are concerned that this expansion of authority goes beyond environmental protection, and in doing so has handed special interests another tool to stop infrastructure development and land management activities in their tracks,” Chamber EVP for Government Affairs Bruce Josten said.
When the guidance was still under review, the Chamber had led other trade associations in submitting comments with a range of objections. Following its finalization, the Chamber reiterated its concerns that infrastructure development will now be held up by permitting.
“We are still reviewing the final guidance, but under the new requirements getting approval for projects and land decisions will almost certainly be more challenging,” Josten said. “This will obstruct our ability to build badly needed infrastructure of all kinds and render the investments that are being talked about on the campaign trail meaningless. From railroads, bridges, and highways, to energy, forests, and land management — permits will be more difficult to obtain.”