On August 4, 2021, Fred Wagner was quoted in FreightWaves on a provision in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that would codify former President Trump’s One Federal Decision framework, issued by the White House in 2018.
According to the article, the framework was part of a 2017 Trump executive order aimed at reforming and streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for major infrastructure projects. President Biden revoked the rule as part of a series of his own executive orders issued the day he took office. Seeing parts of the One Federal Decision regulation resurrected in the current infrastructure bill was therefore a surprise, according to Wagner.
“From the very beginning of the Biden administration it was pretty clear there was a great deal of antipathy towards the Trump administration in how it dealt with NEPA and environmental reform,” Wagner told FreightWaves. “Biden thought Trump’s reforms went too far, which was why he rescinded them in his very first week as president.”
Wagner said that while he wasn’t privy to negotiations on the language included in the infrastructure package, “the way you get [Republicans] to agree to move this bill along is to include this kind of a provision.”
For example, it proposes to limit the “alternative analysis” section of environmental impact statements to 200 pages. The lead agency overseeing a major project would be required to develop a schedule to complete the environmental review process for the project within two years after publishing a notice of intent. The provision would also require Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to develop “categorical exclusions” to accelerate project delivery.
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