Reps. Armstrong, Bishop and Peterson Introduce Bill to Streamline Federal Infrastructure Permitting Process
WASHINGTON – Congressman Kelly Armstrong, Congressman Rob Bishop and Congressman Collin Peterson introduced a bipartisan bill today to improve and modernize the federal infrastructure permitting process, which will help create jobs in North Dakota, Utah, Minnesota and across the country. The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act builds upon permitting reforms that were included in Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) that was signed into law in 2015.
“Anyone who has dealt with the federal government knows the frustration that the slow bureaucratic process can bring. Government delays to infrastructure projects have a tangible cost to job growth,” said Armstrong (R, N.D.). “Every delay in a project due to the federal government is a delay to infrastructure investment and job creation. The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act allows more projects to qualify and streamlines the permitting process. Simply put, more projects will be able to be completed in a shorter period of time. This is a win for jobs. This is a win for infrastructure improvements.”
“Necessary infrastructure improvements have been suffocated by environmental litigation and a convoluted permitting process for far too long. In 2015, we passed a five-year authorization known as the FAST Act, which significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process while leaving environmental protections in place. It was a no-brainer solution that garnered bipartisan support, and one that has proven to be successful in helping more than 40 infrastructure projects through the permitting process,” said Bishop (R, Utah), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “Today, the introduced Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act looks to make the success of this program permanent and applicable to even more projects in need of completion. Striving to save taxpayer dollars, cooperation amongst agencies, and cutting the permitting process down to two years or less is simply common sense. I look forward to working with Rep. Armstrong as we advocate for these improvements and make a proven solution a permanent one.”
“Businesses that are playing by the rules should not face excessively long permitting decisions,” said Peterson (D, Minn.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. “Rural Minnesota needs infrastructure improvements, and this bill works to reduce the red tape that delays progress.”
The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act removes the original seven-year sunset on the FAST-41, expands the FAST Act to more projects, creates a two-year goal for permitting projects, expands the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s consulting authority, and improves the council’s operation.
As a State Senator, Armstrong authored the North Dakota infrastructure “surge funding” bill in 2015 to rebuild infrastructure in the rapidly growing oil patch communities in western North Dakota.
- This bill is the House companion to Sen. Rob Portman’s legislation, S. 1976, which was introduced in June and was previously introduced as S. 3017 in the 115th Congress.
- The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Sen. Portman, held a hearing examining federal infrastructure permitting and FAST-41. Video of the hearing and other materials can be found here.
- The bipartisan Federal Permitting Improvement Act was incorporated as Title 41 in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, which was signed into law in 2015.