Senate Committee Improves Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting and Environmental Reviews

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2015) –The Senate Homeland Security and Government Agencies Committee today approved S. 280, a bill to streamline the federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects and reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, issued this statement:

“We support the permitting bill as passed today and commend Chairman Johnson and Senators Portman, McCaskill and Carper for making substantial improvements in recent days. The bill now levies a fee on project sponsors to help defray the costs of review, which should increase the speed and quality of reviews and reduce litigation.

“The bill also reduces the time allowed for legal challenges to two years from six – less than ideal, but much more realistic than the five months in the bill as initially proposed.

“As the bill moves ahead, we urge the Senate to oppose House provisions, which would make it harder for federal agencies to do the job the American public expects and deserves.”