Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2641, the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2013, sponsored by Representative Tom Marino (PA-10).
Rep. Marino's RAPID Act will streamline the current permit approval process for energy, infrastructure, and other construction projects by setting hard deadlines, cracking down on prolonged lawsuits, and consolidating agency management of the approval process from start to finish.
"This is a common-sense solution to the problems that have resulted from the outdated, burdensome, and convoluted federal permitting process," Marino said of the RAPID Act. "Streamlining this process will accelerate project approval; creating jobs, boosting our economy, and increasing our energy independence."
"Project No Project," a 2011 study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, identified 351 state-level projects that, if approved, would create 1.9 million jobs and generate $1.1 trillion annually, during construction.
"In Pennsylvania alone, delays to proposed energy projects cost the commonwealth nearly 25,000 good-paying jobs and over $4 billion in total economic output," Marino said. "Bureaucracy is holding up projects and preventing job growth -- I see it every day in my district.
"In 2006, Northeast Ethanol and Renewable Resources LTD proposed a plant in the city of Mayfield, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania that would have yielded an annual production capacity of 50 million gallons of ethanol and potentially created 100 jobs. This project is still not built, and appears to be stalled indefinitely."
H.R. 2641 establishes an 18-month maximum deadline for an Environmental Assessment and a 36-month maximum deadline for an Environmental Impact Statement, to prevent excessive agency objections. The legislation also sets a 180-day statute of limitations for lawsuits challenging permitting decisions.
"The current process is broken. It is resulting in fewer jobs for Americans that want to get back to work and higher energy costs for families and small businesses," Marino said. "I am pleased that colleagues on both sides of the aisle were able to come together and pass this legislation."