Last night, U.S. Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2641, the bipartisan Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2013.
The RAPID Act establishes a transparent, streamlined federal permitting process, allowing American companies to move forward with energy and infrastructure projects that create jobs.
Currently, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to analyze the environmental impacts of new federal actions. While the goals of NEPA are worthy, there are no checks or limits on the process. As often happens with an over-expansive federal government, over the years the machinery has slowed as more and more bureaucrats have gotten involved in the process.
"This bill is really just common-sense," Marino said. "There are energy and infrastructure projects across the country, including in Pennsylvania's 10th District, which have been significantly delayed by endless agency objections --sometimes by a decade or longer. It is time for the government to get out of the way and let the private sector create the jobs America so desperately needs."
One nationwide study in 2011 identified 351 proposed coal, wind, nuclear, and natural gas projects that, if approved, would generate $1.1 trillion and 1.9 million jobs annually.
The RAPID Act will set firm time limits for agencies to abide by. In particular, it stipulates an 18-month maximum for an environmental assessment and a 36-month maximum for an environmental impact statement. The legislation also establishes a 180-day statute of limitations to bring suit.
"Our current system for businesses to obtain permits is outdated and burdensome. The RAPID Act will make this process more transparent and efficient, putting one agency in charge and ensuring a rational process is followed to approve or deny a project within a reasonable timeframe. Job creators and workers alike deserve to know that a fair decision will be made by a date certain. The RAPID Act removes the bureaucratic barriers and allows the projects to proceed, creating jobs and stimulating the economy," Marino added.
The RAPID Act was previously introduced in the 112th Congress. It was included in a larger bill encompassing six pieces of legislation (the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act) which was passed by the House of Representatives in July 2012. Earlier today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law held a hearing on H.R. 2641. Congressman Marino was joined by Congressman Bachus, Congressman Coble, Congressman Franks, Congressman Smith (TX), and Congressman Owens in introducing this legislation.