House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01), along with Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06), Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (CA-25), and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-09), today sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro requesting a comprehensive economic and administrative evaluation of federal agencies' required compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) over the last five fiscal years. The letter also asks the GAO to examine "costs associated with NEPA related litigation and delays in regulatory approvals."
"Since its establishment in 1970, the National Environmental Policy Act has evolved into one of the most expansive regulatory laws in the country. The full extent of its breadth and reach, spanning across every federal agency and every federal action, has yet to be comprehensively examined. Nor have the costs associated with compliance been fully measured. This report will help us better understand the current impact of NEPA on both pending and existing projects, the management and protection of our natural resources and lands, cost of compliance and litigation, and whether or not it has impeded job creation and economic growth. I look forward to the findings of the research and hope that the analyses will give us a clearer understanding of the law and its impact over the last forty years and into the future," said Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop.
"The National Environmental Policy Act is one of the broadest, most sweeping regulatory laws in existence and the federal government should have a better understanding of how much their own compliance costs the American taxpayer and the impact on small businesses, family farms, rural counties and schools, energy-producing activities and economic growth. After forty years, mounds of red-tape and exposure to endless litigation and regulatory delay have corroded the original intent of the law. The result is a costly and complex regulatory process that does more to impede job creation and economic growth than protect the environment," said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). "Understanding the full extent of NEPA's costly regulatory process will better help the Committee with efforts to make improvements and modernizations to the law, which will ensure better protection of our environment and support economic growth."