A transportation bill currently passing through congress is set to revitalize American infrastructure with increased funding and reductions to red tape hindering projects. This red tape, though, is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and rollbacks to its authority could be disastrous for the environment.
The bill whittles away at NEPA authority with three small changes to the policy. The first is exemptions from environmental review for certain projects, a move meant to speed up infrastructure improvements at the cost of unknown environmental impact. Next is time and page limits to environmental reviews, making it harder to encompass the entire environmental impact of a project due to these constraints. Last is the expansion of a program that gives states authority over environmental review rather than the federal government, a possible conflict of interest. The bill has yet to be passed, but if it is unchanged, it would whittle down the authority of NEPA even further and have possibly major impacts on the environment.