Environmental extremists such as the NRDC and Sierra Club are exploiting environmental impact rules to slow energy infrastructure development for profit.
The Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provision... could not have come soon enough. When it was first signed into law in 1970, NEPA served as a way for federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions, helping them to balance a range of interests. Today, NEPA is a massively expensive and time-consuming liability that threatens to derail crucial infrastructure and energy development projects. NEPA, as it currently operates, is the model of an outdated regulation that has been exploited beyond recognition from its original purpose.
Under NEPA, any rule or proposal for infrastructure or development projects that involves federal lands, federal funding, or a federal agency—even if the agency’s role is only to issue a permit—must be accompanied by formal consideration of environmental impacts. “Environmental impacts” refer to a project’s effects on human environment: aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, or health, whether direct, indirect, or cumulative.