U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, is supporting the Simplify Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency (START) Act, an effort led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), to reform current federal regulatory permitting processes after repeated delays, postponements, and roadblocks to key infrastructure projects.
“This effort provides certainty to states, expedites permitting and review processes, and codifies important environmental regulatory reforms put in place under the previous administration. It’s a commonsense solution that gets bureaucrats in Washington out of the way,” said Ernst.
The legislation includes all of the reforms from Sen. Capito’s amendment to the Inflation Reduction Act, which would have made key reforms to America’s antiquated and convoluted permitting system, without diminishing environmental protections. The Biden administration has chosen to address project delays, inflation, and rising energy costs through presidential orders, federal regulations, and simply throwing money at the problem. This bill would include reforms to current government programs. Full text of the legislation can be found here.
More information about the START Act can be found below.
Codification of NEPA Regulations
- Codifies the Trump Administration’s modernized National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.
Providing Regulatory Certainty
- Codifies the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule’s definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
- Codifies the Trump Administration’s Section 401 Certification Rule under the Clean Water Act to prevent state actions that unreasonably block energy projects.
- Codifies Nationwide Permits issued in 2021 that streamline Section 404 permitting for the development of critical energy projects and other activities under the Clean Water Act.
- Lengthens the available approval term of permits issued under delegated state water permit programs from 5 to 10 years.
Limiting New Red Tape and Costs for Gasoline and Other Fuels
- Prohibits the use and adoption of the Biden Administration’s interim estimates for the “social cost of greenhouse gases” and any other estimates that may raise gasoline prices.
Expediting Permitting and Review Processes
- Codifies key elements of the One Federal Decision framework for energy projects, including timely approvals for projects, permitting review schedules for projects that are no longer than two years, and limitations on the page length of environmental documents.
- Provides litigation certainty on the timing of judicial challenges to energy project approvals.
- Allows agencies to share and use one another’s categorical exclusions for energy projects under NEPA.
Federal Lands Freedom Act
- Grants states the right to develop energy resources on the federal lands located within their borders. This section gives states the ability to proactively and responsibly develop energy on federal lands.
- Allows a state to develop a regulatory program governing the leasing and permitting of energy activities on its federal land.