Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives approved H.R. 2641, the Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act by a vote of 229-179. The RAPID Act, introduced by Congressman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and cosponsored by Republicans and Democrats, contains a strong slate of permit streamlining reforms consistent with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness’ recommendation to “simplify regulatory review and streamline project approvals to accelerate jobs and growth.” The bill streamlines the approval process for federally-funded and federally-permitted infrastructure, energy and other construction projects and delivers faster approvals.
The RAPID Act recognizes that delay and uncertainty in the review process for new permits undermine job creation, wages for hardworking Americans, and economic growth. Specifically, the legislation accomplishes the following:
• Sets Hard Deadlines: The bill sets an 18-month maximum deadline for an Environmental Assessment and a 36-month maximum deadline for an Environmental Impact Statement.
• Cracks Down on Prolonged Lawsuits: The bill establishes a 180-day statute of limitations for lawsuits challenging permitting decisions and limits claims to those presented during the permit’s public notice-and-comment process.
• Consolidates Who Manages the Process: The bill empowers agencies to manage environmental reviews efficiently from start to finish to avoid waste and duplication of effort among bureaucratic agencies.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Congressman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), chief sponsor of the RAPID Act, praised today’s vote by the House of Representatives.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Currently, the United States ranks 34th worldwide in the maze of bureaucratic procedures, time and costs needed to obtain a green light for federal construction permits. It is no wonder that nearly 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed when government bureaucracy backlogs job opportunities and permits have simply not been approved.
“The RAPID Act streamlines and expedites the permit approval process by setting hard deadlines, cracking down on prolonged lawsuits, and consolidating who manages the process. By making these necessary reforms, the RAPID Act acts as a job creator for Americans across the country, to the effect of 1.9 million jobs annually during construction and hundreds of thousands of jobs every year following.
“With the RAPID Act, we will open opportunities for Americans to find work in this challenging economic climate while building our infrastructure for the future.”
Congressman Marino: “Currently, proposed energy and infrastructure projects are subject to an outdated and burdensome permitting process that allows for endless agency objections. A recent study identified 351 projects that, if approved, would have generated $1.1 trillion and created 1.9 million jobs annually. My legislation will have a substantially positive impact on such projects, both in my district and across the country.
“The RAPID Act simply streamlines the existing process for permit approval; increasing transparency and efficiency, and getting government out of the way so the private sector can create jobs Americans so desperately need.
“I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte for his continued support of this legislation, and I look forward to seeing this bill pass on the House floor with strong, bipartisan support.”