Dear Representative Davis:
On behalf of National Taxpayers Union, the nation’s oldest taxpayer advocacy organization, I write to express our strong support for your legislation H.R. 7130, the “One Federal Decision Act (OFDA) of 2020.” Your legislation would bring much needed reform to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by accelerating the federal review process of infrastructure projects. By streamlining regulations and codifying common sense deadlines, we believe H.R. 7130 will help reduce unnecessary regulatory hurdles that cause too many critical projects to languish. We are proud to endorse H.R. 7130 and support its swift enactment.
As you are keenly aware, NEPA mandates federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of their actions, including infrastructure projects that require permits from the federal government. Though well-intentioned, NEPA has had the unintended consequence of driving up costs and adding excruciating delays to potential infrastructure projects. According to the Department of Treasury, the average time to complete a NEPA study increased from 2.2 years in the 1970s, to 4.4 years in the 1980s, to 6.6 years in 2011.
For taxpayers and private investors that finance these projects, it should be unacceptable that these needless delays continue to swell. The United States has a long tradition of building impressive structures, and the government-driven delays ingrained into our permitting process undermines this history.
Thankfully, your legislation brings needed reforms to expedite the approval process and roll back burdensome delays. Your proposal reforms the project permitting process by placing a two-year timeline for government completion of environmental reviews and by consolidating the process across federal agencies. The new two-year deadline for environmental reviews and authorization for major infrastructure will convey a greater degree of certainty in a growing market and reduce the capability of the federal government to unduly limit the potential of the construction industry. Additionally, your legislation streamlines the approval process by requiring only a single environmental document instead of multiple documents, as well as a single standardized permitting process.
We are proud to support the One Federal Decision Act of 2020. These reforms will allow builders to employ more workers and bring their infrastructure projects online ahead of schedule and under budget. We look forward to working towards its enactment as a standalone bill, or as part of a comprehensive infrastructure package to boost the economy.