House Committee Passes WRDA/NEPA Changes Released by CEQ

House T&I Committee Approves WRDA 2020

The full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee under the Chairmanship of Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today unanimously approved by voice vote its version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, H.R. 7575.  It is expected that the bill could be on the House floor as early as July 27th, 2020. 

House Water Resources and Environment Committee Chair Grace Napolitano (D-CA) noted at the beginning of today’s markup that the committee had received at least 45 amendments in addition to the Manager’s Amendment by this morning.  In addition to the Manager’s Amendment (attached) a few amendments were also approved in today’s markup session.  A good number of the amendments offered today, however, were withdrawn with members opting to work on the issues with leadership, and some were alternatively voted down by the Committee.

Information on WRDA 2020 can be found at https://transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/issue/water-resources-development-act-of-2020  NAFSMA will also be providing additional information to the membership.

Unlike the Senate water resources legislation – America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2020 (S. 3591) - approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in May, the House bill focuses primarily on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mission areas and does not include provisions addressing EPA programs and issues.  This has been the approach traditionally taken by the House of Representatives. 

Once the House and Senate approve their respective bills, they will need to head to a conference committee where differences between the two bill will be negotiated. 

White House Council on Environmental Quality Releases Final New NEPA Rule

Today the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a notice for its final rule, titled “Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.”  The final rule will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow. 

 CEQ’s final rule modernizes and clarifies the CEQ regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective and timely NEPA reviews by improving interagency coordination, promoting earlier public involvement, increasing transparency, and enhancing the participation of States, Tribes, and localities.  The final rule will advance the original goals of the regulations to reduce paperwork, delays, and promote better decision-making.

 Please see more information and links to the final rule and factsheet at:

https://ceq.doe.gov/laws-regulations/regulations.html

or

https://www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/