U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the various processes and costs associated with executing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), which requires all federal agencies to evaluate potential environmental effects of proposed projects. The report is entitled, "Little Information Exists on NEPA Analyses."
"GAO's report tells us what we had already suspected - that there is little accountability in the NEPA process and that NEPA has become more of an economic burden than an effective environmental law," said Vitter. "This Administration has misused and abused NEPA in an attempt to further their far-left environmentalist agenda, all while squandering taxpayer dollars. This report makes clear that we need to continue to improve the NEPA process to ensure that there is accountability in getting federal projects completed. "
The GAO report found little information exists on the costs and benefits of completing NEPA analyses, and that federal agencies failed to routinely track the cost of completing those analyses. Vitter is particularly concerned with making sure the NEPA review process is transparent and accountable because the process plays a large role in moving forward with major infrastructure projects like those authorized in both the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and the Highway Reauthorization bill that he is currently working on.
The report was requested by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee; Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources; Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services; and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Vitter supported the House members request and urged the GAO to complete the report.