New Bill Would Calm the Regulatory RAPIDs
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In 2014, MetLife Stadium at New Jersey’s Meadowlands will have football fans tailgating and celebrating prior to the Super Bowl. But also next door will stand a partially-built American Dream Meadowlands.
A fully-functioning retail and entertainment center would not only be filled with football fans buying food and drink and souvenirs but also filled with visitors in the planned ice rink, amusement park, and water park. The entire project won’t be completed by the 2014 Super Bowl because of an EPA permit delay.
Often projects like American Dream Meadowlands get stalled because local, state, and federal agencies demand duplicative permit applications, and each agency moves at its own pace in approving them. Along the way, a third-party can swoop in with objections or go to court and delay the project further. This regulatory uncertainty slows down too many projects and hurts economic growth.
On Wednesday, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), along with original cosponsors Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), introduced the "Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID)" Act to streamline the process for developers to obtain environmental permits and approvals.
According to Rep. Ross’ press release the RAPID Act:
- Sets a 4.5 year-maximum deadline to complete the review process, including an 18 month maximum for the Environmental Assessment and 36 month maximum for an Environmental Impact Statement
- Establishes a 180-day statute of limitations and a “get in or get out” rule that requires interested parties to comment and involve themselves early on in the process to maintain standing to bring a lawsuit later
- Allows lead agencies to accept existing relevant environmental documents, including those prepared under state laws that satisfy or exceed National Environmental Policy Act standards
- Adopts established concepts, definitions and best practices to ensure that the federal review and permitting process is efficient and transparent
Regulatory reform, part of the Chamber’s American Jobs and Growth Agenda, has long been an important issue. Last year’s Project No Project initiative documented the hundreds of energy construction projects that have been stalled because of local zoning laws, permit approvals, and lawsuits.
Bill Kovacs, Senior Vice President for Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber called the RAPID Act, "precisely the type of commonsense action needed to speed up the permitting process, boost the economy and create jobs."