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house Bill H.R. 348

Should it be Easier for New Development Projects to get Environmental Permits?

Argument in favor

Long environmental review procedures delay projects and result in lost job opportunities. This bill addresses those problems by streamlining the review process.

Cary's Opinion
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04/09/2015
Multiple federal agencies reviewing the same permit request at the same time makes logical sense. Imagine if permitting worked like a Nascar pit crew instead of the DMV.
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Taret's Opinion
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04/09/2015
Looking at the details, this bill removes a lot of redundant reviews and streamlines permits, not necessarily removing environmental checks. I support a much leaner bureaucracy as long as it doesn't infringe on the original intent of regulatory checks.
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jackson's Opinion
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07/14/2015
It's almost amusing how difficult the EPA has made it for companies to attain environmental permits. Get the government out of private business!
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Argument opposed

This bill could lead to projects being approved too quickly. That may cause more harm to the environment and ultimately delay projects further along in the process.

Tomblue01's Opinion
···
04/10/2015
Instead of giving folks a permit to destroy our environment, I would much rather pass legislation requiring companies develop in sustainable, environment-friendly ways. For example, why do we not harvest energy from the tremendous heat being given off in our landfills? There are good and creative ways to build just about anything that will promote the environment instead of destroying it.
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BananaNeil's Opinion
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04/09/2015
Oh look, the GOP is taking another jab at the EPA's ability to regulate the destruction of our environment. Yes, I get it, the regulation process is not great, and should be streamlined, but this bill allows for projects to completely cut out federal level regulation.
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EricSchmeltzer's Opinion
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04/09/2015
I'm currently sitting in an apartment building that's sinking into the ground because permits were laxed at the time it was built. Screwing up the environmental impact of developments isn't easy, or cheap, to fix. And, in a lot of cases, I bet taxpayers foot the bill. As they say - measure twice, cut once.
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What is House Bill H.R. 348?

The “RAPID” Act stands for Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development. If passed, this bill would streamline environmental permit approval process that federal agencies use for developers, builders, and designers by:

  • Facilitating coordination between the federal agencies that are involved in environmental reviews; 
  • Providing for concurrent reviews by agencies, rather than serial reviews;
  • Removing duplicate review procedures by allowing the use of state-level environmental reviews — when the state has done an adequate review;
  • Keeping federal agencies accountable to set time-tables for comment and objections;
  • Creating a process for identifying the true scope, size, cost, impacts, and schedule of a project;
  • Requiring a consolidated supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for prospective projects — and a fixed deadline by which these reports have to be completed. 

Impact

Developers, builders, designers, and other contractors who have to get environmental permits for their projects, people who could use the jobs created by these projects, federal agencies that manage, coordinate, and approve or deny environmental permits, and the Council on Environmental Quality.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 348

$5.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, and estimate of a previous version of this bill done by the CBO in August 2013 found that implementation would cost $5 million over a five year period — assuming that funds were available. This cost would primarily come from federal agencies taking on additional work to meet the new deadline requirements proposed in this bill. The CBO also recognized the possibility of more costs from potential legal suits that could come from this bill. Legal fees would be financed with federal money.

More Information

In Depth:

A previous version of this bill was introduced into the 113th Congress, and even passed through the house 229 - 179. It died after never receiving consideration in the Senate.

An open letter of support from the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) pitched the benefits of this bill, reasoning that: 

"Every year that major projects are stalled or cancelled because of a dysfunctional permitting process and a system that allows limitless challenges by opponents of development, millions of jobs are not created. For example, 351 stalled energy projects reviewed in one 2010 study (Project No Project) had a total economic value of over $1 trillion and represented 1.9 million American jobs not created. Project No Project showed that in the energy sector alone, one year of delay translates into millions of jobs not created."  

Critics of the bill have called out the new shorter deadlines could lead projects being approved without adequate review, and consequently, more delays later on. According to an article in The Hill critiquing a previous version of the bill, many Democrats saw the legislation as “another attack against environmental restrictions on public projects.”


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) Press Release

CBO Cost Estimate (Previous Bill Version) 

The Hill (Previous Bill Version)

Wikipedia (Previous Bill Version) 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce (In Favor) 

ProgressiveReform.org (Opposed) 

Industrial Energy Consumers of America (In Favor) 


Summary by Saranna Rotgard
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Eric Fischer

AKA

RAPID Act

Official Title

To provide for improved coordination of agency actions in the preparation and adoption of environmental documents for permitting determinations, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • The house Passed September 25th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 233 Yea / 170 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law
    IntroducedJanuary 14th, 2015

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    Multiple federal agencies reviewing the same permit request at the same time makes logical sense. Imagine if permitting worked like a Nascar pit crew instead of the DMV.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Instead of giving folks a permit to destroy our environment, I would much rather pass legislation requiring companies develop in sustainable, environment-friendly ways. For example, why do we not harvest energy from the tremendous heat being given off in our landfills? There are good and creative ways to build just about anything that will promote the environment instead of destroying it.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    Oh look, the GOP is taking another jab at the EPA's ability to regulate the destruction of our environment. Yes, I get it, the regulation process is not great, and should be streamlined, but this bill allows for projects to completely cut out federal level regulation.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm currently sitting in an apartment building that's sinking into the ground because permits were laxed at the time it was built. Screwing up the environmental impact of developments isn't easy, or cheap, to fix. And, in a lot of cases, I bet taxpayers foot the bill. As they say - measure twice, cut once.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Looking at the details, this bill removes a lot of redundant reviews and streamlines permits, not necessarily removing environmental checks. I support a much leaner bureaucracy as long as it doesn't infringe on the original intent of regulatory checks.
    Like (6)
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    Share
    Builders should be held to the highest of environmental standards! We should be aiming for sustainability in all that we do!
    Like (3)
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    Environmental permits should be more tightly regulated than they currently are. As should development considering the state of the environment, climate and over population
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    It's almost amusing how difficult the EPA has made it for companies to attain environmental permits. Get the government out of private business!
    Like (2)
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    The EPA has overstepped its authority in many areas and cannot be trusted.
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    This bill is purely designed to undermine the EPA. If this passes, corporations will have free reign to destroy the environment, and the EPA cannot do its job to stop them. We have got to stop destroying our planet as if we had another one to go to. There is no Planet B.
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    There are massive expanses of underutilized real estate in this country. We need to halt all new development for a while and make use of what we have in a more ecologically and economically sustainable manner. Anything less is suicide.
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    The environmental regulations are out of control, and their effects are highly debatable.
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    Environmental permits should be part of any development project.
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    Streamline and reduce government don't make it bigger. The EPA is not a reputable group, kind of like the IRS.
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    The government needs to make things simpler and hold companies accountable. that doesn't mean giving the EPA more power than they deserve to have. You still have the environmental checks in place just not as much bureaucracy.
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    What kind if short sighted company wrote this bill? The justification is, as always, "but the jobs!! Do you want to lose #xxx amount of JOBS!?!?" No. I'd rather not lose lives or millions down the road because some greedy businessmen cut corners.
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    The epa is a joke and should be closed down
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    The EPA has too many who have succumbed to the man made global climate change myth and errant information and who now base their permitting, etc. on those beliefs. So limiting their ability to delay and squelch good projects should be one of our top priorities.
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    Environment before development. Protected resources generally enhance the land-value of development.
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    God, you mean should it be HARDER? Does anyone in politics besides Bernie Sanders know anything outside of D.C.? Climate change, the 6th mass extinction. Wake up or get voted out.
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