Sen. Lee Introduces UNSHACKLE Act to Reform NEPA

October 26, 2020

WASHINGTON. -Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the “Undoing NEPA’s Substantial Harm by Advancing Concepts that Kickstart the Liberation of the Economy” or UNSHACKLE Act on Monday, legislation that would comprehensively reform the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“Environmental planning is essential to sustainable growth, but unfortunately NEPA has become a weapon used by special interests to make much-needed infrastructure and maintenance projects throughout our country prohibitively expensive,” Sen. Lee said. “The UNSHACKLE Act will reform the NEPA process so that federal agencies, state, and local governments are better empowered to carry out NEPA’s original process while also making our nation’s infrastructure and maintenance project affordable again.”

“For years, NEPA’s burdensome requirements have left countless infrastructure projects in a state of judicial and bureaucratic limbo, stunting job creation and economic growth in communities across the country,” Sen. Cruz said. “Providing meaningful reform to streamline the NEPA process will help hard-working men and women return to work on delayed projects and help our economy continue to flourish.”

“The National Environmental Policy Act is a 50 year-old law designed to ensure infrastructure and energy projects consider environmental factors prior to development. Without congressional action, the bureaucracy has turned NEPA compliance into an overly complicated process where permitting often takes longer than building the project itself. Leave it to the bureaucracy to turn a law meant to help something move forward into rules that are only good for holding something up,” Sen. Cramer said. “The UNSHACKLE Act will empower state and local governments while providing legal certainty and clear limitations to the federal bureaucracy.”

The UNSHACKLE Act is comprehensive NEPA legislation that combines five other previously introduced NEPA reform acts into one bill. Those other bills are:

The NEPA Data Transparency and Accountability Act

The NEPA State Assignment Expansion Act

The NEPA Agency Process Accountability Act

The NEPA Accountability and Enforcement Act

The NEPA Legal Reform Act