RESPONSIBLY AND PROFESSIONALLY INVIGORATING DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2013
(House of Representatives - March 06, 2014)

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[Pages H2220-H2236]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  RESPONSIBLY AND PROFESSIONALLY INVIGORATING DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2013


                             General Leave

  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous materials on H.R. 2641.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Kingston). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentleman from Virginia?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 501 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 2641.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Womack) to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1155


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 2641) to provide for improved coordination of agency actions in 
the preparation and adoption of environmental documents for permitting 
determinations, and for other purposes, with Mr. Womack in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte) and the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Johnson) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  5\1/2\ years after the financial crisis struck in 2008, America 
remains in a jobs recession. Millions of Americans would call it a jobs 
depression.
  The RAPID Act responds to America's urgent need for new jobs with 
critical help. According to testimony received by the Regulatory Reform 
Subcommittee, the RAPID Act would help to stimulate the creation of 3 
million jobs.
  In an economy in which the labor force participation rate has reached 
record lows, there is little more urgent jobs legislation that Congress 
could pass than the RAPID Act.
  The jobs the RAPID Act would create, moreover, are high-wage, highly-
skilled construction jobs. This is not just sure-fire legislation to 
create millions of jobs; it is sure-fire legislation to create higher 
wages for hardworking Americans.
  Why do we need legislation to create these jobs? The reason is 
simple. Since before the financial crisis began and up to this day, the 
Federal Government's outdated and overly burdensome environmental 
review process has kept legions of jobs and workers waiting too long 
for approval from Federal bureaucrats.
  The United States now ranks a dismal 34th in the world in the 
procedures, time, and costs needed to obtain governmental approval of 
new construction permits.
  The heart of the problem lies with delay in the completion of reviews 
under the National Environmental Policy Act, commonly known as NEPA. 
When NEPA was first implemented, neither Congress nor the executive 
branch contemplated that the NEPA process would bog down responsible 
Federal permitting.
  On the contrary, when Congress debated the issue, it talked about 
timeframes like 90 days to complete review. In 1981, the Council on 
Environmental Quality, or CEQ, thought all review could be done in a 
year.
  A recent study, however, found that the average length of time to 
complete just one part of the process, the preparation of an 
environmental impact statement, was 3.4 years and growing. Examples 
abound of cases in which it takes far longer.
  The port of Savannah, Georgia, for example, has seen a potential 
dredging project mired in review for over 13 years, with no end to 
review in sight. Cape Wind, a significant wind energy project in 
Massachusetts, took 12 years to reach the end of review.
  Making matters worse, many projects that finally emerge from the 
administrative review process only become bogged down again in lengthy 
litigation challenging agencies' permitting decisions.
  Clearly, the system needs to be reformed. Vice President Biden summed 
it up dramatically during a visit to the Savannah port in 2013 when he 
said:

       What are we doing? We're arguing about whether or not to 
     deepen this port. It's time we get moving. I'm sick of this. 
     Folks, this isn't a partisan issue. It's an economic issue.

  How do we get moving? The key is to find the right balance between 
economic progress and the proper level of analysis. The RAPID Act 
strikes this balance. It does not force agencies to approve or deny any 
projects. It simply ensures that the process agencies use to make 
permitting decisions, and the timeline for subsequent litigation, are 
transparent, logical, and efficient.
  To do that, the RAPID Act draws upon established definitions and 
concepts from existing NEPA regulations. It also draws upon commonsense 
suggestions from across the political spectrum, including from the 
President's Jobs Council and the administration's Council on 
Environmental Quality.
  Most significantly, the RAPID Act sets hard deadlines, including an 
18-month maximum deadline for an environmental assessment and a 36-
month maximum deadline for an environmental impact statement.

                              {time}  1200

  It cracks down on prolonged lawsuits by establishing a 180-day 
statute of limitations for lawsuits challenging permitting decisions 
and limiting claims to those presented during the permit's public 
notice-and-comment process, and it consolidates who manages the process 
by empowering lead agencies to manage environmental reviews efficiently 
from start to finish in order to avoid waste and duplication of effort 
among bureaucratic agencies.
  In many respects, the bill is modeled on the permit streamlining 
sections of Congress' SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21 transportation legislation, 
which commanded bipartisan support. A study by the Federal Highway 
Administration found that this legislation has cut the time for 
completing an environmental impact statement nearly in half.
  President Obama, himself, moreover, strongly supports permit 
streamlining consistent with the recommendations of his Jobs Council. 
In his 2014 State of the Union Address, the President expressed his 
desire ``to slash bureaucracy and to streamline the permitting process 
for key projects so that we can get more construction workers on the 
job as fast as possible.''
  Congress should transform the President's rhetoric into action and 
enact this legislation to streamline permitting on all federally funded 
and federally permitted construction projects.
  I want to thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Marino) for his 
leadership on this issue, and I urge all of my colleagues to support 
this critical legislation and cut down the time it takes America's 
workers to see a real jobs recovery.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

         Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of 
           Representatives,
                                Washington, DC, February 27, 2014.
     Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
     Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: I write concerning H.R. 2641, the 
     Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act 
     of 2013, as ordered reported by the Committee on the 
     Judiciary on July 31, 2013. There are certain provisions in 
     the legislation that fall within the Rule X jurisdiction of 
     the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
       In order to expedite this legislation for floor 
     consideration, the Committee will forgo action on this bill. 
     However, this is conditional on our mutual understanding that 
     forgoing consideration of the bill does not alter or diminish 
     the jurisdiction of the Committee with respect to the 
     appointment of conferees or to any future jurisdictional 
     claim over the subject matters contained in the bill or 
     similar legislation. I request you urge the Speaker to name 
     members of the Committee to any conference committee named to 
     consider such provisions.
       I would appreciate your response to this letter, confirming 
     this understanding and acknowledging our jurisdictional 
     interest, and would request that you insert our exchange of 
     letters on this matter into the committee report on H.R. 2641 
     and the Congressional Record during any consideration of this 
     bill on the House floor.
           Sincerely,
                                                     Bill Shuster,
                                                         Chairman.

[[Page H2221]]

     
                                  ____
                                         House of Representatives,


                                   Committee on the Judiciary,

                                Washington, DC, February 27, 2014.
     Hon. Bill Shuster,
     Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
         House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Shuster, Thank you for your letter regarding 
     H.R. 2641, the ``Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating 
     Development Act of 2013,'' which was ordered reported 
     favorably by the Committee on the Judiciary on July 31, 2013.
       It is my understanding that the Committee on Transportation 
     and Infrastructure has Rule X jurisdiction over portions of 
     H.R. 2641. I am, therefore, most appreciative of your 
     decision to forego consideration of the bill so that it may 
     move expeditiously to the House floor. I acknowledge that 
     although you are waiving formal consideration of the bill, 
     the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is in no 
     way waiving its jurisdiction over the subject matter 
     contained in the bill. In addition, if a conference is 
     necessary on this legislation, I will support any request 
     that your committee be represented therein.
       Finally, I am pleased to include your letter and this reply 
     letter memorializing our mutual understanding in the 
     Congressional Record during floor consideration of H.R. 2641.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Bob Goodlatte,
                                                         Chairman.

  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 2641, the so-called Responsibly 
and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2013.
  Contrary to the bill's short title, H.R. 2641 would result in 
confusion and delay in the review and permitting process for certain 
construction projects. Most importantly, it would pose serious threats 
to public health and safety. By carving out a separate environmental 
review process for construction projects, which this bill doesn't even 
define, by the way, this bill would effectively create two different 
environmental review processes for the same project: one that applies 
to the construction phase of the project, whatever that means under the 
bill, and one that applies to every other phase of the project.
  For instance, the bill's requirements would apply to building a 
nuclear reactor but not to decommissioning the reactor or transporting 
or storing the reactor's spent fuel after it has been decommissioned. 
Worse yet, this measure could jeopardize public health and safety by 
prioritizing project approval over meaningful analysis. It does this by 
restricting the opportunity for meaningful public participation, and it 
imposes deadlines that may be unrealistic under certain circumstances. 
In doing so, H.R. 2641 forecloses potentially critical input from 
Federal, State, and local agencies and other interested parties for 
construction projects that are federally funded or that require Federal 
approval.
  This is why I have offered an amendment ensuring that the public's 
right to participate in the review process is not cut off by this 
measure, and if an agency fails to meet the unrealistic deadlines 
mandated by H.R. 2641, the bill would automatically green-light a 
project regardless of whether the agency has thoroughly reviewed the 
project's risks.
  These failings of the bill, along with many others, explain why the 
President's Council on Environmental Quality and more than 20 respected 
environmental groups vigorously oppose this bill. It is also the 
reason, yesterday, the administration issued a Statement of 
Administration Policy, whereby the recommendation to the President, in 
noting that these new rules would actually cause more confusion, would 
be to veto the bill if passed by this House and the Senate and once it 
arrives at his desk.
  Last but not least, H.R. 2641 fails to address the real problem with 
construction projects. The RAPID Act is clearly intended to apply to 
infrastructure projects. Yet this bill does nothing to address the 
actual causes of construction delays, which is the lack of funding.
  Insofar as the Savannah River port dredging is concerned, the Corps 
of Engineers approved that project back in 2012. Of course, since 2012, 
in addition to shutting down the government for 16 days, we have been 
cutting funds for these kinds of projects. So, today, for politicians 
to clamor for a spotlight and then denounce the lack of funding for 
these very important and crucial projects for the Nation's economic 
well-being, it is really ridiculous that we would stand here and act 
like it is regulations that are holding things back. No. It is the 
money.
  For example, there is currently a $60 billion backlog of projects 
authorized under the Water Resources Act. Although every single one of 
these projects has been successfully approved using existing review 
procedures under NEPA, not a single one of these projects has begun 
construction. Why? Because the most recent appropriations for the 
Corps' construction budget was only $1.2 billion. That is $60 billion 
in approved projects that would improve the Nation's infrastructure had 
they not been delayed.
  Clearing this backlog would be a force multiplier in creating jobs, 
spurring innovation, and growing the economy. That is a jobs bill, Mr. 
Chairman. What is more, the Obama administration is doing everything 
that it can to improve the performance of Federal permitting and the 
review of infrastructure projects.
  In March 2012, the administration issued Executive Order 13604 to 
modernize the Federal infrastructure permitting process and cut in half 
the timeline for approving infrastructure projects. This order 
incentivized better outcomes for communities and the environment while 
cutting red tape. Since implementing this order, agencies have 
expedited permits for over 50 major projects. In one instance, agencies 
shaved up to 3 years off the timeline of the Tappan Zee Bridge 
replacement project in New York. That is a multibillion-dollar project 
that is putting Americans back to work. The President then issued 
another memorandum in June of 2013, further directing Federal agencies 
to develop an integrated interagency pre-application process for 
significant offshore electric transmission projects requiring Federal 
approval.
  Mr. Chairman, my Republican colleagues often claim to want to get 
Americans back to work, so I have to ask:
  Why do we need legislation that does not create a single job--a bill 
that will pick winners and losers and a bill that makes the process 
less clear and less protective of public health and safety? Why do we 
need that legislation? Why must we continue to waste this Chamber's 
precious time on bills that do nothing?
  Mr. Chairman, we should work together to address the real causes for 
delay in the NEPA process instead of debating this dangerous bill. In 
light of the bill's many serious flaws, I urge my colleagues to oppose 
the legislation.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds just to say to 
the gentleman from Georgia that the provisions on the projects that he 
mentioned are exactly why we need this legislation. It is because this 
legislation incorporates those ideas which started, by the way, in this 
House with the work of the Transportation Committee, in the 
transportation bills, and that now needs to be codified and put into 
law so that it can be made available not just in those projects but in 
every project in which the Federal Government has a regulatory role.
  At this time, it is my pleasure to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman 
from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), the chairman of the Regulatory Reform 
Subcommittee.
  Mr. BACHUS. I thank the chairman.
  Mr. Chairman, one thing that I think we all, Republicans and 
Democrats, agree on is that you can't have a world-class economy with a 
third world infrastructure, and in many cases, that is what we have 
today. Putting money into highways, bridges, and other infrastructure 
improvements is one of the best investments that the Federal Government 
can make. The gentleman from Georgia said that, that it is a great 
investment, but when we put the money in for the projects, we need to 
get those projects underway.
  Each infrastructure project in our country creates jobs--high-paying 
jobs--and they modernize our transportation system. Not only does it 
create jobs, but it increases fuel efficiency because it increases 
velocity. It saves fuel, which is good for our economy, and it makes us 
less dependent on foreign oil. It improves safety, which not only 
reduces costs but saves lives. Unfortunately, there is a major 
roadblock

[[Page H2222]]

out there in completing all of the work that we desperately need to do, 
and that is the excruciatingly slow process imposed by Washington on 
the permitting of new construction projects. Now, that is where, I 
think, the gentleman from Georgia and I disagree. He says there is not 
a problem.

  Let me quote President Obama:

       One of the problems we've had in the past is that sometimes 
     it takes too long to get projects off the ground.

  That is not I. That is President Obama.

       There are all these permits and red tape and planning and 
     this and that, and some of it's important to do, but we could 
     do it faster.

  That is the essence of this bill. We can do it faster. We both 
acknowledge it creates jobs. We both acknowledge it helps our economy, 
our fuel efficiency, and it saves lives. We can do that faster. That 
means less fuel wasted, less time wasted, jobs created. Boy, we need 
those jobs now. Let me tell you how difficult it is on projects.
  The Northern Beltline, which is part of the loop around Birmingham, 
was first added to the National Highway System in 1995. Only this 
month, 19 years later, did we commence that project when a Federal 
judge finally said enough is enough--enough delays, enough court 
challenges, enough roadblocks--and he ordered the project to begin. 
During that period of time, there were four environmental studies done. 
Look, our tax dollars are limited. There were four environmental 
studies that had to be redone from start to finish because they became 
too old. They became outdated. That is money that is wasted. We can't 
afford to waste money or time or lives in making this economy better 
and in creating jobs.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BACHUS. I will yield to the gentleman in just a minute. If I have 
time left, I would be glad to.
  Mr. Chairman, imagine. This project in 1998 began to receive 
authorization and funding, but it just started this month. These were 
people, constituents--and not only those people living in central and 
north Alabama--whose commutes were longer. They were people traveling 
through Alabama.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. MARINO. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.

                              {time}  1215

  Mr. BACHUS. I want to thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Marino) for introducing this legislation. It will reduce the time it 
takes to review new construction projects and ensure that the 
permitting process is not endlessly held up in courts.
  That is what the judge said in the case of the Northern Beltline. He 
said that this has been before the courts. Sometimes it takes people 
years to get their case to court. We don't need these unnecessary 
delays, legal expenses, and added environmental expenses.
  We have done these same things in bipartisan SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21. 
Why are we all of a sudden saying this is a bad thing when earlier, in 
a bipartisan way, we approved very similar provisions?
  Why in this Congress are we suddenly out here calling things 
dangerous that used to be bipartisan? I don't understand that. I don't 
think the American people understand this dysfunction.
  I thank the Judiciary Committee, its members, Chairman Goodlatte, and 
Mr. Marino. This was too late for the people along the Northern 
Beltline, but it won't be too late the next time.
  You cannot have a first-world economy with a third-world 
infrastructure. Putting money into highway, bridge, and other 
infrastructure improvements is one of the best investments that the 
federal government--or state governments--can make. Each infrastructure 
project in our Country creates jobs--high-paying jobs. And modernizing 
our transportation and infrastructure system not only creates jobs--
high-paying jobs. It increases fuel efficiency, which is good for the 
environment. It improves safety, reduces costs, and saves time.
  Unfortunately, there is a major roadblock out there to completing all 
of the work that we desperately need to get done, and that is the 
excruciatingly slow process imposed by Washington on the permitting of 
new construction projects.
  President Obama has even said, ``one of the problems we've had in the 
past is, is that sometimes it takes too long to get projects off the 
ground. There are all these permits and red tape and planning, and this 
and that, and some of it's important to do, but we could do it 
faster.''
  Today, it sometimes seems incredibly difficult to get permission in a 
timely manner for even a small project. And when it comes to large 
projects--such as the construction of the Northern Beltline in the 
Birmingham area that I represent--the challenges are even greater. 
While construction on the Northern Beltline has finally begun this 
month, it took too long to get there, almost two decades from first 
being added to the National Highway System and over ten years since 
funding was authorized, and that has delayed the economic benefits that 
the project will generate for the region.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I point out to my friend from Alabama that you cannot do construction 
projects without Federal funding. If there is no funding that has been 
appropriated, then the projects don't get done. That is what we have 
had here in this Congress.
  Currently, we have a $60 billion backlog of projects authorized under 
the Water Resources Development Act. Each and every one of those 
projects has great importance. All of the regulatory work has been 
done. The projects are cleared. We just simply do not fund them here 
because this Congress does not want it to be said by the American 
people that the current administration is responsible for an economic 
turnaround.
  Despite their best efforts and most insistent efforts, the economy 
continues to move along favorably, though not at the rate that we need 
it to. So we really need to have legislation that we are considering 
and debating on this floor that will create jobs and economic 
prosperity for Americans, as opposed to these anti-regulatory bills 
that come forth--it looks like about five or six every week are coming 
by--plus, we have to pepper in a dose of the repeal of the Affordable 
Care Act every once in awhile. Fifty times we have done that. Not one 
job created.
  That is the problem that we have.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the American historical record has always been ``the 
worse the recession, the stronger the recovery.'' However, although the 
National Bureau of Economic Research states the recession ended 5 years 
ago, we can agree the recovery has been anything but strong.
  Facts are something this administration fights with vehement 
opposition. Nevertheless, the simple fact is this is the slowest 
``recovery'' our country has witnessed since the Truman Presidency.
  After the deep recession that began in December of 2007, employment 
has risen sluggishly, at best, and has risen much more slowly than in 
the last four recoveries, for certain. According to the CBO, employment 
at the end of 2013 was about 6 million jobs short of where it would be 
if the unemployment rate had returned to its pre-recession level.
  This is why I have introduced H.R. 2641, the Responsibly and 
Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2013, also known as the 
RAPID Act.
  The RAPID Act creates a streamlined Federal environmental review and 
permitting process that establishes transparency and certainty for job 
creators. Furthermore, this bill would empower lead agencies to manage 
environmental reviews from start to finish, as well as establish time 
constraints on the review process and period in which a claim can be 
filed.
  A recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce identified 351 State-
level projects that, if approved for construction, could have created 
1.9 million jobs annually during the projected 7 years of construction. 
While these numbers help put the issue in perspective, I don't need to 
see a study to know that bureaucracy is holding up projects and 
preventing job growth. I see it every day in my district.
  For example, one of my constituents, PPL Corporation, filed an 
application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license 
to build and operate a state-of-the-art nuclear plant near the 
company's existing two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power plant. The plant 
would produce 1,600 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 
1 million homes. PPL predicted this one project would create 400 
construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs.

[[Page H2223]]

  In addition, early estimates by PPL were that the project would cost 
$15 billion to construct. These estimates include escalation, financing 
costs, initial nuclear fuel, and contingencies and reserves.
  Imagine for a moment, if you will, the positive impact of a $15 
billion investment in my district in Pennsylvania, the 10th 
Congressional District.
  However, Washington bureaucrats have prevented this project from 
creating jobs, and it has yet to break ground. Six years after the 
application was first filed in 2008, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
claims they are still reviewing the company's request for a combined 
operating license. If these individuals that are reviewing this after 6 
years were working in private industry, they would have been fired in 
the first year. In fact, PPL says, realistically, a final decision on 
the project is still several years away.
  This is ridiculous.
  Let me be clear. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 serves 
worthy goals, which should be preserved. I live out in the country. I 
get my water from a well. I love to see the deer and the bear come 
through my land. I raised my children there. If my colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle think that I would do anything to hurt my 
children, whether it is water, air, or the environment in general, they 
really should think again.
  Federal agencies should be able to evaluate new projects to ensure 
that they don't pose a threat to the environment or to the public. 
However, over time, NEPA regulations have turned into an outdated, 
burdensome, and convoluted Federal permitting process that must be 
reined in.
  The good news is that a bipartisan consensus exists on the need to 
reform the permitting process. In fact, the administration, the 
President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and legislation 
adopted by a strong bipartisan majority in the 109th and 112th 
Congresses all recognize that an overly burdensome and lengthy 
environmental review and permitting process undermines economic growth.
  The time for these reforms is now, because Americans are ready to get 
back to work. The RAPID Act of 2013 will remove the red tape and allow 
job creators to take projects off the drawing board and onto the 
worksite.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this commonsense 
reform, and I reserve the balance of my time.

                                                    March 5, 2014.
       To the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives: The 
     undersigned groups strongly support H.R. 2641, the 
     ``Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development 
     (RAPID) Act of 2013,'' which would provide a streamlined 
     process for developers, builders, and designers to obtain 
     environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a 
     timely and efficient manner, allowing jobs to be created and 
     the economy to grow.
       Every year that major projects are stalled or cancelled 
     because of a dysfunctional permitting process and a system 
     that allows limitless challenges by opponents of development, 
     millions of jobs are not created. For example, 351 stalled 
     energy projects reviewed in one 2010 study (Project No 
     Project) had a total economic value of over $1 trillion and 
     represented 1.9 American jobs not created. Project No Project 
     showed that in the energy sector alone, one year of delay 
     translates into millions of jobs not created.
       The Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development 
     Act of 2013 would improve the environmental review and 
     permitting process by:
       Coordinating responsibilities among multiple agencies 
     involved in environmental reviews to ensure that ``the trains 
     run on time;''
       Providing for concurrent reviews by agencies, rather than 
     serial reviews;
       Allowing state-level environmental reviews to be used where 
     the state has done a competent job, thereby avoiding needless 
     duplication of state work by federal reviewers;
       Requiring that agencies involve themselves in the process 
     early and comment early, avoiding eleventh-hour objections 
     that can restart the entire review timetable;
       Establishing a reasonable process for determining the scope 
     of project alternatives, so that the environmental review 
     does not devolve into an endless quest to evaluate infeasible 
     alternatives;
       Consolidating the process into a single Environmental 
     Impact Statement (EIS) and single Environmental Assessment 
     (EA) for a project, except as otherwise provided by law;
       Imposing reasonable fixed deadlines for completion of an 
     EIS or EA; and
       Reducing the statute of limitations to challenge a final 
     EIS or EA from six years to 180 days.
       The RAPID Act is a practical, industry-wide approach that 
     builds on successful provisions for environmental review 
     management found in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st 
     Century Act (MAP-21), Section 6002 of the Safe, Accountable, 
     Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users 
     (SAFETEA-LU), and Section 1609 of the American Recovery and 
     Reinvestment Act. The RAPID Act also embodies the procedural 
     improvements to ``cut red tape'' as called for by the Obama 
     administration, including, most recently, in his January 28, 
     2014, State of the Union Address.
       The RAPID Act addresses the problem far too many shovel-
     ready projects face today: lengthy project delays from 
     endless environmental reviews and challenges result in lost 
     opportunities to create jobs and grow the economy. Every year 
     of delay results in millions of jobs not created. The 
     creation of millions of jobs is worth ensuring that our 
     governinent works faster and more efficiently.
       The undersigned groups strongly support H.R. 2641. The 
     RAPID Act would be the strong action needed to speed up the 
     permitting process and let important projects move forward, 
     allowing millions of workers to get back to work. We urge you 
     to support this important bill.
           Sincerely,
       American Architectural Manufacturers Association, American 
     Bakers Association, American Chemistry Council, American 
     Coating Association, American Concrete Pressure Pipe 
     Association, American Council of Engineering Companies, 
     American Forest & Paper Association, American Foundry 
     Society, American Highway Users Alliance, American Iron and 
     Steel Institute, American Petroleum Institute, American 
     Rental Association, American Road & Transportation Builders 
     Association.
       American Supply Association, Associated Builders & 
     Contractors, Associated Builders & Contractors--Rhode Island 
     Chapter, Associated Equipment Distributors, Associated 
     General Contractors, Associated Wire Rope Fabricators, 
     Association of American Railroads, Association of Equipment 
     Manufacturers, Construction Industry Round Table, Edison 
     Electric Institute, Electronic Security Association, Forging 
     Industry Association, Foundry Association of Michigan, 
     Independent Electrical Contractors, Industrial Energy 
     Consumers of America, Industrial Fasteners Institute, 
     Industrial Minerals Association--North America, Metals 
     Service Center Institute.
       Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, National 
     Association of Electrical Distributors, National Association 
     of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, 
     National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National 
     Black Chamber of Commerce, National Electrical Manufacturers 
     Association, National Federation of Independent Business, 
     National Industrial Sand Association, National Mining 
     Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, 
     National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Roofing 
     Contractors Association, National Shippers Strategic 
     Transportation Council.
       National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, Non-Ferrous 
     Founders' Society, North American Equipment Dealers 
     Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, Ohio Cast Metals 
     Association, Pacific-West Fastener Association, Pennsylvania 
     Foundry Association, Petroleum Marketers Association of 
     America, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, South 
     Carolina Timber Producers Association, Texas Cast Metals 
     Association, Textile Rental Services Association, U.S. 
     Chamber of Commerce, Washington Retail Association, Wisconsin 
     Cast Metals Association, Wisconsin Grocers Association.

  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my friend and colleague from 
Pennsylvania pointed out in the Rules Committee last night that it was 
the approval process that was holding up the dredging project for the 
Port of Savannah.
  Just yesterday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution refuted this claim. 
In reality, this project--and countless others like it--are held up by 
a lack of funding.
  To quote the article:

       In the old days, a Congress that didn't agree with White 
     House priorities simply loaded its own projects into the 
     budget, in a bit of horse-trading.
       But Republicans, particularly in the House, have placed 
     such bargaining out of bounds--a self-imposed restriction on 
     their own influence.
       Because, under the House rules, this is an earmark.

  The Savannah River Port dredging would be an earmark.

       And so for us to place something in the budget which is not 
     in the budget already--it's not allowed.

  That is quoting from my colleague, Representative Kingston. Because 
it is an earmark, in other words, Congress or its representatives would 
be barred by our own rules from placing funding in the budget for a 
project.
  It is unfortunate that my colleagues from Georgia on the other side 
of the aisle, aided and abetted by their colleagues on the other side 
of the aisle from across the country, can't seem to adjust their 
legislative actions to suit the people that they represent.

[[Page H2224]]

  This Savannah River Port dredging is very important to Georgia's 
economy. It is the most important economic development project on the 
table, and it is ready to go, but the bond between these legislators 
and the big, bad Tea Party has them afraid to do what is in the best 
interest of their States. That is a shame.
  I yield 5 minutes to my colleague from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me thank the manager, my friend, Congressman 
Johnson, Mr. Marino, our colleagues on the floor of the House, and as 
well on the Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. Chair, I rise to accept the fact that there are opportunities for 
discussion on streamlining and effectively expediting processes in a 
collaborative way in the Federal Government to continue to move forward 
the Federal Government, as it is responsible to the American people. 
Unfortunately, I believe that we are not at that place today with H.R. 
2641.
  President Obama has been cited repeatedly. I believe that his words 
at that time and today are accurate. No one would want the Federal 
Government to stall moving projects forward.
  I might ask my colleagues, however, if they would join me in fully 
funding infrastructure and rebuilding this country, which we have not 
been able to do for almost 5 years.
  By reading the Statement of Administration Policy, the administration 
strongly rejects the legislation's premise in H.R. 2641 that public 
input and responsible agency decisionmaking under current law hinders 
job creation. The administration believes that H.R. 2641, if enacted, 
will lead to more confusion and delay, limit public participation in 
the permitting process, and ultimately hamper economic growth.
  There lies, Mr. Chairman, the underpinnings of the President's veto 
threat.

                              {time}  1230

  Where is this bill going?
  I will, at the appropriate time, place the administration's statement 
into the Record.
  So what are we talking about with this legislation? One, this 
legislation would narrow the scope of judicial review. In addition, 
this legislation would narrow the review by one Federal agency, who 
would allegedly coordinate other Federal and State agencies.
  Let me tell you what the problem with that is, Mr. Chairman; that is 
that each of the agencies have their own extra expertise, so you are 
snuffing their expertise. You are quashing their expertise. You are 
forcing one agency to be the giant understander of all the nuances of 
the other agencies which have a responsibility to their constituency 
and to the American people.
  Then you have a set of circumstances that suggests, as my amendment 
will hope to correct, that you are going to deem up. If you don't get 
the job done, we are going to deem you up. Beam you up. We are going to 
just assume that everything has been done and you can go forward. It 
doesn't matter whether you trample on farmland in Texas or whether or 
not you are, in essence, leveling suburban homes in Pennsylvania or 
whether or not you are in the mountains of Georgia and cause havoc.
  So I would make the argument that this is not an act that is 
answering the question. It is a solution searching for a problem. 
Frankly, the argument made by many of us is the principal causes of 
unjustified delay in implementing the NEPA review process are 
inadequate agency resources. And the Bush administration noted that 
NEPA was not a cause for delay.
  I would ask my colleagues, how can we work together?
  I think for a moment I will just pause and say that yesterday was an 
unfortunate incident in the House Oversight Committee. It did not 
reflect well on this institution or chairmen who lead committees.
  I pause to say that because I believe it is an important statement to 
make on the Floor of the House, that we should never have a setting in 
a committee where a ranking member is silenced, or that a hand is used 
across one's neck to make a comment about an individual not being able 
to speak. All of us are equal.
  I raise that here because we are talking about process and procedure. 
And even though one might argue that there was a regular process of 
this particular legislation, we could have been more collaborative, 
because I am empathetic and I am sympathetic that we all want to make 
sure that projects move quickly, that jobs are created.
  But the administration has made an assessment that NEPA is not the 
delay; the Bush administration has done so. And what we need is to 
fully fund the government with adequate resources so that our agencies 
with the appropriate staff can move forward.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield the gentlewoman an 
additional 30 seconds.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I am from the region of the oil spill 
of 2010, and that oil spill, at that time voices that were Republican 
and Democrat from the gulf region were raising their voices about the 
process of review.
  What happened with BOMA? Why wasn't there some understanding that 
there were some cracks in the system? Even the industry recognized that 
we must work on best practices, not less regulation--not bad practices, 
but best practices.
  And what did we do? We have put in regulations that would enhance 
oversight of the issues of drilling.
  So, Mr. Chairman, let me say that I rise to oppose this legislation. 
We could do it more collaboratively, and we need to treat each other 
with the dignity and the respect that this particular institution 
deserves, both in committees and on the Floor of the House.
  Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to H.R. 2641, the ``Responsible and 
Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2013, or as some have 
termed it, the ``Regrettably Another Partisan Ideological Distraction 
Act.''
  If the RAPID Act were to become law in its present form, a permit or 
license for project would be ``deemed'' approved if the reviewing 
agency does not issue the requested permit or license within 90-120 
days.
  Mr. Chair, I share some of the frustrations expressed by many members 
of the House Judiciary Committee, which marked up this bill last 
summer, with the NEPA process.
  Why are we wasting time with this bill when we could be passing H.R. 
3546, a bill introduced by my colleague Sandy Levin, the distinguished 
Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee which amends the 
Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to extend emergency unemployment 
compensation (EUC) payments for eligible individuals to weeks of 
employment ending on or before January 1, 2015.
  Or we could bring up and pass H.R. 3888, ``The New Chance For a New 
Start in Life Act,'' a bill I introduced which provides grants for 
training to those out of work--who are merely seeking to pull 
themselves up by their bootstraps--the American way.
  But here we are on the Floor of the House of Representatives voting 
and speaking on the ``Regrettably Another Partisan Ideological 
Distraction Act.''
  There is something odd about a system in which it can take half a 
year or more to approve the siting plan for a wind farm but fracking 
operations regulations can be approved and conducted a few hundred feet 
from somebody's home with no community oversight process in just a few 
months.
  Something is wrong with this picture.
  But I strongly believe that this bill is a solution in search of a 
problem.
  The bill in its current form is an example of a medicine that is 
worse than a disease.
  There is a major problem with the section that my amendment 
addresses, namely automatic approval of projects with the need for 
positive agency action.
  I expect to speak on my amendment shortly but suffice it-to-say, this 
bill goes out of its way to ensure that some projects might be 
prematurely. approved.
  That's because under H.R. 2641, if a federal agency fails to approve 
or disapprove the project or make the required finding of the 
termination within the applicable deadline, which is either 90 days or 
180 days, depending on the situation, then the project is automatically 
deemed approved, deemed approved by such agency.
  This creates a set of perverse incentives. First, as an agency is up 
against that deadline and legitimate work is yet to be completed, it is 
likely to disapprove the project simply because the issues have not 
been vetted.
  Second, frequently there are times when it is the case that the 
complexity of issues that need to be resolved necessitates a longer 
review period, rather than an arbitrary limit.
  So if H.R. 2641 were to become law the most likely outcome is that 
federal agencies

[[Page H2225]]

would be required to make decisions based on incomplete information, or 
information that may not be available within the stringent deadlines, 
and to deny applications that otherwise would have been approved, but 
for lack of sufficient review time.
  In other words, fewer projects would be approved, not more.
  Mr. Chair, the new requirements contained in H.R. 2641 amend the 
environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA), even though the bill is drafted as an amendment to the APA.
  The bill ignores the fact that NEPA has for more than 40 years 
provided an effective framework for all types of projects (not just 
construction projects) that require federal approval pursuant to a 
federal law, such as the Clean Air Act.
  I urge my colleagues to reject this flawed and jaded legislation.

                   Statement of Administration Policy


H.R. 2641--Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act 
                                of 2013

     (Rep. Marino, R-Pennsylvania, and 10 cosponsors, Mar. 5, 2014)

       The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2641, which would 
     undercut responsible decision-making and public involvement 
     in the Federal environmental review and permitting processes. 
     As the Administration said when this legislation was 
     considered previously, H.R. 2641 will increase litigation, 
     regulatory delays, and potentially force agencies to approve 
     a project if the review and analysis cannot be completed 
     before the proposed arbitrary deadlines. This legislation 
     complicates the regulatory process and creates two sets of 
     standards for Federal agencies to follow to review projects--
     one for ``construction projects'' and one for all other 
     Federal actions, such as rulemakings or management plans.
       The Administration strongly rejects the legislation's 
     premise that public input and responsible agency decision-
     making under current law hinders job creation. The 
     Administration believes that H.R. 2641, if enacted, will lead 
     to more confusion and delay, limit public participation in 
     the permitting process, and ultimately hamper economic 
     growth. The Administration supports efforts to improve the 
     efficiency of the environmental review processes without 
     diminishing requirements for rigorous analyses, agency 
     consultation, and public participation. This includes an 
     Interagency Steering Committee that will publish a plan with 
     15 reforms and over 80 actions to modernize the Federal 
     permitting and review of major infrastructure projects.
       If the President were presented with H.R. 2641, his senior 
     advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. 

  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Cantor).
  Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for 
his leadership in bringing this bill forward.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the RAPID Act. It is hard 
enough for working middle class wage earners, many of whom haven't seen 
a raise in years, to get by. With record low temperatures, polar 
vortexes, and damaging snowstorms, this brutal winter has created even 
bigger problems for America's families.
  For too many, just paying the monthly heating bill has become a real 
challenge. A few weeks ago, my hometown paper, the Richmond Times-
Dispatch, reported on record-high propane prices and the impact it has 
had on the 135,000 Virginia families who heat their homes with propane.
  Unfortunately, cost increases are affecting families, whether they 
use propane, natural gas, or electricity to heat their homes. Right 
now, moms and dads all across America are sitting at their kitchen 
table looking at one of the largest home heating bills they have ever 
seen.
  We in Congress can't do much about the cold weather, but we can enact 
sensible policies that expand energy supplies and reduce costs, and 
that is exactly what we are doing in the House this week.
  If you heat your home with propane, our bills tackle the 
infrastructure problems that have led to record price increases. If you 
heat your home with natural gas, we are trying to make it easier to 
move the natural gas that is being developed throughout the country to 
your home. If you heat your home with electricity, we are halting 
excessive and unnecessary regulations that are expected to drive up the 
costs of electricity.
  The bottom line? We are reducing energy costs for America's families. 
Middle class families in Virginia and throughout America have enough to 
focus on without having to worry about Washington making it more 
expensive for them to heat their homes.
  This is an opportunity for Members of the House to stand together and 
to offer some relief to struggling Americans who are simply trying to 
pay their energy bills and provide for their families.
  I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte, Representative Marino, and the 
rest of the Judiciary Committee for their hard work on this issue, and 
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  I would also like to thank Chairmen Upton and Whitfield, Chairman 
Shuster and Congressman McKinley for their work on all the legislation 
dealing with energy costs this week.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to yield 1 
minute to the distinguished gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), the 
ranking member of the full Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend my colleague on the 
Judiciary Committee, Mr. Johnson, for the leadership that he has 
exercised here in bringing this discussion forward on a bill that is 
very disappointing to me.
  This bill imposes hard-and-fast deadlines that will be unrealistic in 
certain circumstances and would undercut responsible decisionmaking and 
public involvement in the Federal review and permitting processes.
  Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 2641 for various 
reasons.
  Let's begin with the very misleading short title of this bill, 
namely, the ``Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development 
Act.''
  Rather than effectuating real reforms to the process by which federal 
agencies undertake environmental impact reviews as required by the 
National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, this legislation will 
actually result in making this process less responsible, less 
professional, and less accountable.
  Worse yet, this measure could jeopardize public health and safety by 
prioritizing project approval over meaningful analysis.
  To begin with, the bill--under the guise of streamlining the approval 
process--forecloses potentially critical input from federal, state, and 
local agencies as well as from members of the public to comment on 
environmentally-sensitive construction projects that are federally-
funded or that require federal approval.
  The bill also imposes hard and fast deadlines that may be unrealistic 
under certain circumstances.
  Moreover, if an agency fails to meet these unrealistic deadlines, the 
bill simply declares that a project must be deemed approved, regardless 
of whether the agency has thoroughly assessed risks.
  As a result, this measure could allow projects to proceed that put 
public health and safety at risk.
  For example, as the Minority's witness astutely noted at the 
Committee's hearing on this bill, H.R. 2641 could effectively prevent 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from exercising its licensing 
authority pertaining to nuclear power reactors, waste management sites, 
and nuclear waste disposal facilities.
  And, the bill could allow such projects to be approved before the 
safety review is completed.
  This failing of the bill, along with many others, explains why the 
Administration and the President's Council on Environmental Quality, 
along with more than 20 respected environmental groups vigorously 
oppose this legislation.
  These organizations include the Audubon Society, League of 
Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, 
and The Wilderness Society.
  In issuing its veto threat, the Administration warns that the bill 
``would undercut responsible decision-making and public involvement in 
the Federal review and permitting processes.''
  In addition, the Administration observes that the bill will 
``increase litigation, regulatory delays, and potentially force 
agencies to approve a project if the review and analysis cannot be 
completed before the proposed arbitrary deadlines.''
  Another concern that I have with this bill--like other measures that 
we have considered--is that it is a flawed solution in search of an 
imaginary problem.
  And, that is not just my opinion. The nonpartisan Congressional 
Research Service issued a report last year stating that the primary 
source of approval delays for construction projects ``are more often 
tied to local/state and project-specific factors, primarily local/state 
agency priorities, project funding levels, local opposition to a 
project, project complexity, or late changes in project scope.''
  CRS further notes that project delays based on environmental 
requirements stem not from NEPA, but from ``laws other than NEPA.''
  So I have to ask, why do we need a measure like the so-called RAPID 
Act that will undoubtedly make the process less clear and less 
protective of public health and safety?

[[Page H2226]]

  My final major concern with this bill is that--rather than 
streamlining the environmental review process--it will sow utter 
confusion.
  H.R. 2641 does this by creating a separate, but only partly parallel 
environmental review process for construction projects that will only 
cause confusion, delay, and litigation.
  As I noted at the outset, the changes to the NEPA review process 
contemplated by this measure apply only to certain construction 
projects.
  NEPA, however, applies to a broad panoply of federal actions, 
including fishing, hunting, and grazing permits, land management plans, 
Base Realignment and Closure activities, and treaties.
  As a result of the bill, there could potentially be 2 different 
environmental review processes for the same project. For instance, the 
bill's requirements would apply to the construction of a nuclear 
reactor, but not to its decommissioning or to the transportation and 
storage of its spent fuel.
  Rather than improving the environmental review process, this bill 
will complicate it and generate litigation.
  But, more importantly, this bill is yet another effort by my friends 
on the other side of the aisle to undermine regulatory protections.
  As with all the other regulatory bills, this measure is a thinly 
disguised effort to hobble the ability of federal agencies to do the 
work that Congress requires them to do.
  Accordingly, I strenuously oppose this seriously flawed bill.
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Kelly).
  Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman, a 
good friend and great colleague, for bringing this RAPID Act forward 
because I strongly support it.
  I want to just reflect. Go out of these hallowed Chambers and go into 
the private sector, and think about going through a permitting process 
and think about the longer you delay, the more you have to pay. It is 
just that simple.
  You can drag these things out and drag these things out and drag 
these things out. And when you ask people: What is it that I have to 
do? I have already done everything you required me to do. It is just a 
little bit more. So the answer is: How long is a piece of string? We 
don't know.
  What we are doing by not getting this done, and we have talked about 
the number of jobs that are waiting. If we are talking about improving 
the economy--and these are not Republican jobs or Democrat jobs. These 
are American jobs. And what are we doing? American projects to help the 
American economy.
  So today to even have a debate--and this is a bipartisan effort; 
there is no question about it. We both feel the same way. We both know 
what the problems are in our country right now. We have too many people 
unemployed. In fact, we have too many people who have given up even 
looking for a job. That is the unreported number that we never reflect.
  But in this case we know that delaying only increases what we have to 
pay. And who is picking up the tab on this? It is hardworking American 
taxpayers. It is just not that much-maligned 1 percent that doesn't 
want to pay their fair share. This is every single American woman and 
man that is out there. It affects how they live their lives. It affects 
how they pay their bills. It affects the future of our economy.
  So I know we have to have debates, and this is not a debate that is 
heated, but it is about heat in a way. This week we have talked about: 
let's heat American homes; let's make sure that we have a sustainable 
path; let's make sure that we are not putting on the backs of these 
folks too much.
  There is an old saying where I come from. It is: Don't worry about 
the mule, just load the wagon.
  Gentlemen, I have got to tell you, right now, the mule is about ready 
to unhook himself from the wagon and say: You have asked me to pull too 
much for far too long.
  So, with Mr. Marino and what he has brought forth today, a 
commonsense approach to creating jobs and getting improvements in our 
country, not improvements for just Republicans but improvements for 
every single American, isn't that why we are all here?
  I know I represent 705,687 western Pennsylvanians. I don't know how 
they are registered; I don't know how they vote; I don't know how they 
worship; but I do know this: they sent me to Washington to represent 
their best interests and, in a larger sense, the State of Pennsylvania 
and the whole country. If we cannot agree on things like this, my 
goodness, where do we go from here?
  So I would just ask my colleagues--and this is a truly a bipartisan 
effort. Mr. Marino, thank you so much for what you have done. This just 
makes sense. And Lord, in a town where common sense is found in so few 
places, let's look at this and understand the uplift for the American 
people and for our economy.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, to blame the lack of job 
creation on the inefficiency of regulations is kind of like--it reminds 
me of when you are downstairs in the bathroom and something is leaking 
from the upstairs bathroom and then someone tells you that it is 
raining. It just doesn't make sense.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. 
DeFazio), my good friend and ranking member on the Natural Resources 
Committee.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for the time.
  I am a bit confused. If you are listening to the debate, you have got 
to be confused about what this bill is really about. Now, it is 
apparently about rapid siting of nuclear plants or about constructing 
of pipelines through your backyard without you being allowed to comment 
or any environmental review, and somehow this is going to lead to job 
creation in America.
  At the beginning of the debate, they were talking about 
transportation and infrastructure. I happen to be on that committee 
also. First off, we already did some streamlining in the last highway 
reauthorization. There is pending streamlining in the Water Resources 
Development Act. But let's drill down a little. What is the real 
problem?
  The real problem is that this side of the aisle, the Republicans, 
don't want to make the investments necessary to put people back to 
work. The highway trust fund is going broke on October 1. Not a word 
from that side, except the brave chairman of the Ways and Means 
Committee who proposed to fund it with some tax reform. But nothing 
else from that side. No proposal on how we are going to continue to 
fund transportation and infrastructure in this country.
  Water Resources Development Act, we have got a bill pending with some 
streamlining, but guess what? There are 60 billion--``b,'' billion--
dollars of backlogged authorized water resources development projects 
that have gone through the full NEPA process and been approved, but the 
annual construction budget, thanks to my friends on the other side of 
the aisle, is $1.2 billion a year. Let's see. I guess that figures out 
to a 50-year backlog, so it really isn't going to matter how much you 
eliminate NEPA review here, which is, essentially, what this bill is 
about, which cuts out the public and other small things like that. A 
50-year backlog.

                              {time}  1245

  But this will solve that problem. We will be building those--well, 
no, we won't, really, because we don't have the money. Well, how about 
roads, bridges, highways, transit? There is an $80 billion backlog in 
transit. NEPA? No, not NEPA. No money.
  Federal highways. We have 140,000 bridges on the Federal system that 
need replacement or substantial rehabilitation or repair. No money. It 
isn't a NEPA review that is stopping that. It is a lack of funding. We 
are not making the necessary investments.
  So you are not addressing jobs here. Don't pretend you are addressing 
jobs, don't pretend you are addressing utility rates, and don't even 
pretend that this bill is going anywhere.
  You know, the Republican majority repeals NEPA every other day in the 
Natural Resources Committee. It hasn't happened yet; and now, this is a 
new way to come at it, through the Judiciary Committee.
  I guess they get tired. I mean, we have had a lot of bills on the 
floor to repeal NEPA that have been passed and have gone to the Senate, 
and nothing has happened. So let's try to fool them. We will cloak it 
in a Judiciary bill, instead of in a Resources bill, and we will 
pretend that it is not really about NEPA or that it is about something 
else.
  Actually, this bill is really bizarre because it creates an entirely 
new

[[Page H2227]]

process for reviewing projects by amending the Administrative 
Procedures Act. It doesn't repeal NEPA.
  So, wow, how are those conflicts going to work out? What are the 
agencies really going to do? I mean, it is gobbledygook legislation on 
top of making a number of false assertions about what it will 
accomplish.
  What it is accomplishing is it has got a great name. It sounds good. 
RAPID, I love that name. That is good. We are really good at names 
around here, but we are not really good at getting things done.
  There should be a bipartisan consensus, and there has been during my 
long tenure in Congress on building things and rebuilding things and 
building an infrastructure.
  You know, it is embarrassing. The United States of America is 
investing less money in its infrastructure--which is falling apart--
than many third-world countries, and I talked about how we are 
developing a third-world infrastructure.
  I had a colleague who is very knowledgeable on the issue who has come 
up and said to me: You know, that is insulting. I said: Do you know how 
bad the state of our infrastructure is? He said: No, it is insulting to 
third-world countries because they are investing a larger percentage of 
their gross domestic product in infrastructure than the United States 
of America is investing.
  It is plain and simple. You can dodge. You can weave. You can come up 
with great names. You can make unbelievable assertions on the floor. 
The bottom line facts, we need to invest in rebuilding America; and for 
every billion dollars we spend on infrastructure, it is somewhere 
between 15,000 and 20,000 jobs that are created, and these are private 
sector jobs.
  Private sector jobs, they do the work when the government provides 
the money to the States, which goes out and competitively bids 
projects; and they build them, but without money, they aren't going to 
build them. It doesn't matter what the environmental review process is. 
No money, no projects.
  Drop it, guys. Come on. Let's do something real around here for a 
change.
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  It is almost amusing to hear my colleagues from the other side say 
how much they want to work together, how much they want to get this 
country moving, how much they want to create jobs.
  Since I have been here--this is my second term, fourth year--I have 
seen virtually no cooperation from the other side in creating jobs. 
They get up, and they give a good speech about names, but there is no 
substance to it. There is no substance to it at all.
  As a matter of fact, this is a bipartisan piece of legislation. Both 
sides support this.
  You know, my colleagues had control of the House prior to the 
Republicans controlling it 4 years ago. They touched none of these 
issues.
  And I want to ask the American people--not my colleagues on the other 
side of the aisle--how has this Federal regulation system been going 
over the last 5 years?
  Virtually no jobs created, agencies stopping everything they can 
under this administration, but yet they stand up and give a good speech 
about cooperation. I have rarely seen it here.
  I have seen obstructionists because it is a power play. You know, 
when someone comes up with a good idea--and I blame both sides over the 
years for this--it is not what is in the best interests of the American 
people. It is who is in power that wants to keep it and who is not in 
power that wants to take it away. And you know something? The American 
people are completely forgotten about.
  Well, one of the reasons--the main reason I came to Washington was to 
work for the American people, not to preserve my job, not to keep 
power, not to take power; but it was to do what is right. And if you 
would listen to what has taken place in some of the hearings over the 
past 3.5 years that I have been involved in, you don't hear 
cooperation. You don't hear it at all.
  So now, I ask my colleagues on the other side: How is that Federal 
system going? How is that permitting system going--that regulating 
system going?
  It is not going well at all. Just ask industry how much it has been 
slowed down because of regulation, and thousands and thousands of more 
regulations have been implemented by this administration than ever 
before. So let's get serious, okay? Let's be honest with the American 
people about what this is about.
  The Federal government doesn't create jobs. Private sector creates 
jobs. The responsibility of the Federal Government is to remove 
obstacles that allow private industry to do what they do best--better 
than the Federal Government.
  And as I said before, I have met a lot of good people here in 
Congress. I have met a lot of good people in the Federal system. But 
there is a fair number of people in the Federal system, in these 
agencies, that go out and say ``no,'' just for the sake of saying 
``no,'' that if they had to go to work in private industry and operated 
under the same premise that they did in the Federal Government, they 
would be fired.
  It is about time we start standing up for the American people and 
create jobs; and I hear from this administration constantly, but there 
are always obstacles. There are 40-some pieces of legislation sitting 
on Harry Reid's desk, the leader of the Senate, the Democrat who won't 
even bring it to the floor for a vote.
  That is a disgrace. Bring it to the floor for a vote. Vote it up or 
down, but let the American people know what is being voted on; and it 
should be brought to the floor, so they know what is going on here.
  With that, Mr. Chairman, I have no further requests for time. I have 
the right to close, so I will reserve the balance of my time.

  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chair, the Federal Government does not 
create a single job. I don't know exactly how many jobs we are talking 
about cutting in the Federal Government from the drawdown of the 
defense, but there will certainly be less federally employed Army, 
Navy, Air Force, and Marine personnel and those who work in the 
Department of Defense to support their efforts to defend this Nation to 
keep us strong.
  The Federal Government does not create a single job. Delivering our 
mail provides good-paying jobs, middle class.
  But I must rise in opposition to this legislation, Mr. Chair, because 
it would just sow utter confusion. H.R. 2641 does that by creating a 
separate, but only partly parallel environmental review process for 
construction projects that will only cause confusion, delay, and 
litigation.
  As a result of this bill, there could potentially be two different 
environmental review processes for the same project. Rather than 
improving the environmental review process, this bill will complicate 
it and generate litigation.
  But more importantly, the bill is yet another effort by my friends on 
the other side of the aisle to gum up the regulatory process and, thus, 
undermine regulatory protections.
  As with all other anti-regulatory bills that this Congress has 
considered over the last few weeks, this measure is simply another 
thinly disguised effort to hobble the ability of Federal agencies to do 
the work that Congress requires them to do.
  Accordingly, I strenuously oppose this seriously flawed bill, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. MARINO. I yield myself the remainder of the time, Mr. Chairman.
  You know, Mr. Chairman, to bring about real and durable job recovery, 
there can be only one conclusion about what the House can do today, and 
it should vote to pass the RAPID Act.
  My friend on the other side talks about the post office, and I 
support them. My mother worked for the post office. But you know 
something? The post office is self-funded, okay?
  Where is the $1 trillion that this administration put into the so-
called stimulus? It did nothing. It wasn't applied properly. It wasn't 
utilized.
  This doesn't cut regulations, this legislation. It doesn't cut 
regulations. It cuts making a decision from 15 years down to 4.5 years. 
Just think in our households, how many of us would have delayed by 
years making decisions, were it be.
  This is bipartisan legislation that would transform into immediate 
action

[[Page H2228]]

the recommendations of the President's Jobs Council, the exhortations 
of Vice President Biden, and the promises President Obama made.
  The President's Jobs Council stated that our system for permitting 
and approving job-creating projects leads to delays and litigation and 
recommended in 2011 that the process be streamlined. The RAPID Act does 
that.
  President Obama, in his 2014 State of the Union Address, promised 
action to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process, so 
we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible. 
The RAPID Act delivers that.
  Let's come together, Republicans and Democrats, for the hardworking 
Americans desperate for new and high-paying jobs. The RAPID Act allows 
that to happen.
  On average, it takes the Federal Government 10 to 15 years to approve 
permitting. If private industry operated in such an irresponsible 
manner, it would be bankrupt.
  Instead of talking the talk, it is time to walk the walk and pass 
this legislation that will create excellent-paying jobs.
  My legislation reduces permitting down to 4.5 years, and it doesn't 
take any authority away. It appoints a single entity, a Federal agency 
that has a major hand in this for oversight.
  And if my colleagues are saying: well, it is not the Federal 
Government, it is the State and local governments.
  Then that agency can light the fire under that local or State 
government and tell them: you must get your approvals in or, by a 
certain time, your opportunity to do that will be waived.
  So still, in an effort to reach across the aisle and work with my 
colleagues and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, let's cut the red 
tape. Ask the people in my district about red tape--those from the VA, 
those from Social Security--what they have to go through with 
agencies--those from EPA, those from OSHA. It is a disaster.
  So let's come together, Republicans and Democrats, for the 
hardworking Americans. I urge my colleagues to support this 
legislation.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Chair, today, the House will pass yet another 
bill that weakens important environmental laws. I will vote against 
this legislation--H.R. 2641--which if enacted would gut the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA process requires federal 
agencies to go through a public assessment of the environmental impacts 
of certain proposed federal actions. As part of this, it mandates the 
consideration of alternatives to those actions. The process can 
identify alternatives that are often less costly with fewer impacts to 
the environment.
  H.R. 2641 undermines this important process, by placing restrictions 
on alternatives that can be considered, and allowing parties with 
vested interests in projects to prepare environmental review documents, 
creating potential conflicts of interest. It could also force agencies 
to approve projects if review and analysis cannot be completed before 
arbitrary deadlines.
  The claimed goal of this bill is to help projects--including 
infrastructure projects--to move forward more quickly. The NEPA 
process, however, is not the reason for project delays. The reason is a 
lack of investment from the federal government. At the Army Corps of 
Engineers, there is a $60 billion backlog of authorized water resources 
projects that were successfully approved under NEPA, but have not been 
built due to lack of funding. At the same time, our roads and bridges 
are in disrepair, not due to NEPA, but because the federal government 
is short of resources, with the Highway Trust Fund projected to need 
$100 billion in additional revenue over the next six years just to stay 
solvent.
  NEPA's positive impact has been unquestionable--it has been one of 
the nation's most important environmental laws, ensuring careful 
decision making and the right of the public to participate in planning 
efforts that would directly impact their communities. I will be 
disappointed to see H.R. 2641 pass, which will only limit the public's 
participation, increase confusion, and undermine responsible agency 
reviews.
  The CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule.
  It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose 
of amendment under the 5-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute consisting of the text of Rules Committee Print 113-39. That 
amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read.
  The text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute is as 
follows:

                               H.R. 2641

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Responsibly And 
     Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2013'' or as 
     the ``RAPID Act''.

     SEC. 2. COORDINATION OF AGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE OPERATIONS FOR 
                   EFFICIENT DECISIONMAKING.

       (a) In General.--Chapter 5 of part 1 of title 5, United 
     States Code, is amended by inserting after subchapter II the 
     following:

    ``SUBCHAPTER IIA--INTERAGENCY COORDINATION REGARDING PERMITTING

     ``Sec. 560. Coordination of agency administrative operations 
       for efficient decisionmaking

       ``(a) Congressional Declaration of Purpose.--The purpose of 
     this subchapter is to establish a framework and procedures to 
     streamline, increase the efficiency of, and enhance 
     coordination of agency administration of the regulatory 
     review, environmental decisionmaking, and permitting process 
     for projects undertaken, reviewed, or funded by Federal 
     agencies. This subchapter will ensure that agencies 
     administer the regulatory process in a manner that is 
     efficient so that citizens are not burdened with regulatory 
     excuses and time delays.
       ``(b) Definitions.--For purposes of this subchapter, the 
     term--
       ``(1) `agency' means any agency, department, or other unit 
     of Federal, State, local, or Indian tribal government;
       ``(2) `category of projects' means 2 or more projects 
     related by project type, potential environmental impacts, 
     geographic location, or another similar project feature or 
     characteristic;
       ``(3) `environmental assessment' means a concise public 
     document for which a Federal agency is responsible that 
     serves to--
       ``(A) briefly provide sufficient evidence and analysis for 
     determining whether to prepare an environmental impact 
     statement or a finding of no significant impact;
       ``(B) aid an agency's compliance with NEPA when no 
     environmental impact statement is necessary; and
       ``(C) facilitate preparation of an environmental impact 
     statement when one is necessary;
       ``(4) `environmental impact statement' means the detailed 
     statement of significant environmental impacts required to be 
     prepared under NEPA;
       ``(5) `environmental review' means the Federal agency 
     procedures for preparing an environmental impact statement, 
     environmental assessment, categorical exclusion, or other 
     document under NEPA;
       ``(6) `environmental decisionmaking process' means the 
     Federal agency procedures for undertaking and completion of 
     any environmental permit, decision, approval, review, or 
     study under any Federal law other than NEPA for a project 
     subject to an environmental review;
       ``(7) `environmental document' means an environmental 
     assessment or environmental impact statement, and includes 
     any supplemental document or document prepared pursuant to a 
     court order;
       ``(8) `finding of no significant impact' means a document 
     by a Federal agency briefly presenting the reasons why a 
     project, not otherwise subject to a categorical exclusion, 
     will not have a significant effect on the human environment 
     and for which an environmental impact statement therefore 
     will not be prepared;
       ``(9) `lead agency' means the Federal agency preparing or 
     responsible for preparing the environmental document;
       ``(10) `NEPA' means the National Environmental Policy Act 
     of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);
       ``(11) `project' means major Federal actions that are 
     construction activities undertaken with Federal funds or that 
     are construction activities that require approval by a permit 
     or regulatory decision issued by a Federal agency;
       ``(12) `project sponsor' means the agency or other entity, 
     including any private or public-private entity, that seeks 
     approval for a project or is otherwise responsible for 
     undertaking a project; and
       ``(13) `record of decision' means a document prepared by a 
     lead agency under NEPA following an environmental impact 
     statement that states the lead agency's decision, identifies 
     the alternatives considered by the agency in reaching its 
     decision and states whether all practicable means to avoid or 
     minimize environmental harm from the alternative selected 
     have been adopted, and if not, why they were not adopted.
       ``(c) Preparation of Environmental Documents.--Upon the 
     request of the lead agency, the project sponsor shall be 
     authorized to prepare any document for purposes of an 
     environmental review required in support of any project or 
     approval by the lead agency if the lead agency furnishes 
     oversight in such preparation and independently evaluates 
     such document and the document is approved and adopted by the 
     lead agency prior to taking any action or making any approval 
     based on such document.
       ``(d) Adoption and Use of Documents.--
       ``(1) Documents prepared under nepa.--
       ``(A) Not more than 1 environmental impact statement and 1 
     environmental assessment shall be prepared under NEPA for a 
     project (except for supplemental environmental documents 
     prepared under NEPA or environmental documents prepared 
     pursuant to a court order), and, except as otherwise provided 
     by law, the lead agency shall prepare the environmental 
     impact statement or environmental assessment. After the

[[Page H2229]]

     lead agency issues a record of decision, no Federal agency 
     responsible for making any approval for that project may rely 
     on a document other than the environmental document prepared 
     by the lead agency.
       ``(B) Upon the request of a project sponsor, a lead agency 
     may adopt, use, or rely upon secondary and cumulative impact 
     analyses included in any environmental document prepared 
     under NEPA for projects in the same geographic area where the 
     secondary and cumulative impact analyses provide information 
     and data that pertains to the NEPA decision for the project 
     under review.
       ``(2) State environmental documents; supplemental 
     documents.--
       ``(A) Upon the request of a project sponsor, a lead agency 
     may adopt a document that has been prepared for a project 
     under State laws and procedures as the environmental impact 
     statement or environmental assessment for the project, 
     provided that the State laws and procedures under which the 
     document was prepared provide environmental protection and 
     opportunities for public involvement that are substantially 
     equivalent to NEPA.
       ``(B) An environmental document adopted under subparagraph 
     (A) is deemed to satisfy the lead agency's obligation under 
     NEPA to prepare an environmental impact statement or 
     environmental assessment.
       ``(C) In the case of a document described in subparagraph 
     (A), during the period after preparation of the document but 
     before its adoption by the lead agency, the lead agency shall 
     prepare and publish a supplement to that document if the lead 
     agency determines that--
       ``(i) a significant change has been made to the project 
     that is relevant for purposes of environmental review of the 
     project; or
       ``(ii) there have been significant changes in circumstances 
     or availability of information relevant to the environmental 
     review for the project.
       ``(D) If the agency prepares and publishes a supplemental 
     document under subparagraph (C), the lead agency may solicit 
     comments from agencies and the public on the supplemental 
     document for a period of not more than 45 days beginning on 
     the date of the publication of the supplement.
       ``(E) A lead agency shall issue its record of decision or 
     finding of no significant impact, as appropriate, based upon 
     the document adopted under subparagraph (A), and any 
     supplements thereto.
       ``(3) Contemporaneous projects.--If the lead agency 
     determines that there is a reasonable likelihood that the 
     project will have similar environmental impacts as a similar 
     project in geographical proximity to the project, and that 
     similar project was subject to environmental review or 
     similar State procedures within the 5-year period immediately 
     preceding the date that the lead agency makes that 
     determination, the lead agency may adopt the environmental 
     document that resulted from that environmental review or 
     similar State procedure. The lead agency may adopt such an 
     environmental document, if it is prepared under State laws 
     and procedures only upon making a favorable determination on 
     such environmental document pursuant to paragraph (2)(A).
       ``(e) Participating Agencies.--
       ``(1) In general.--The lead agency shall be responsible for 
     inviting and designating participating agencies in accordance 
     with this subsection. The lead agency shall provide the 
     invitation or notice of the designation in writing.
       ``(2) Federal participating agencies.--Any Federal agency 
     that is required to adopt the environmental document of the 
     lead agency for a project shall be designated as a 
     participating agency and shall collaborate on the preparation 
     of the environmental document, unless the Federal agency 
     informs the lead agency, in writing, by a time specified by 
     the lead agency in the designation of the Federal agency that 
     the Federal agency--
       ``(A) has no jurisdiction or authority with respect to the 
     project;
       ``(B) has no expertise or information relevant to the 
     project; and
       ``(C) does not intend to submit comments on the project.
       ``(3) Invitation.--The lead agency shall identify, as early 
     as practicable in the environmental review for a project, any 
     agencies other than an agency described in paragraph (2) that 
     may have an interest in the project, including, where 
     appropriate, Governors of affected States, and heads of 
     appropriate tribal and local (including county) governments, 
     and shall invite such identified agencies and officials to 
     become participating agencies in the environmental review for 
     the project. The invitation shall set a deadline of 30 days 
     for responses to be submitted, which may only be extended by 
     the lead agency for good cause shown. Any agency that fails 
     to respond prior to the deadline shall be deemed to have 
     declined the invitation.
       ``(4) Effect of declining participating agency 
     invitation.--Any agency that declines a designation or 
     invitation by the lead agency to be a participating agency 
     shall be precluded from submitting comments on any document 
     prepared under NEPA for that project or taking any measures 
     to oppose, based on the environmental review, any permit, 
     license, or approval related to that project.
       ``(5) Effect of designation.--Designation as a 
     participating agency under this subsection does not imply 
     that the participating agency--
       ``(A) supports a proposed project; or
       ``(B) has any jurisdiction over, or special expertise with 
     respect to evaluation of, the project.
       ``(6) Cooperating agency.--A participating agency may also 
     be designated by a lead agency as a `cooperating agency' 
     under the regulations contained in part 1500 of title 40, 
     Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on January 1, 2011. 
     Designation as a cooperating agency shall have no effect on 
     designation as participating agency. No agency that is not a 
     participating agency may be designated as a cooperating 
     agency.
       ``(7) Concurrent reviews.--Each Federal agency shall--
       ``(A) carry out obligations of the Federal agency under 
     other applicable law concurrently and in conjunction with the 
     review required under NEPA; and
       ``(B) in accordance with the rules made by the Council on 
     Environmental Quality pursuant to subsection (n)(1), make and 
     carry out such rules, policies, and procedures as may be 
     reasonably necessary to enable the agency to ensure 
     completion of the environmental review and environmental 
     decisionmaking process in a timely, coordinated, and 
     environmentally responsible manner.
       ``(8) Comments.--Each participating agency shall limit its 
     comments on a project to areas that are within the authority 
     and expertise of such participating agency. Each 
     participating agency shall identify in such comments the 
     statutory authority of the participating agency pertaining to 
     the subject matter of its comments. The lead agency shall not 
     act upon, respond to or include in any document prepared 
     under NEPA, any comment submitted by a participating agency 
     that concerns matters that are outside of the authority and 
     expertise of the commenting participating agency.
       ``(f) Project Initiation Request.--
       ``(1) Notice.--A project sponsor shall provide the Federal 
     agency responsible for undertaking a project with notice of 
     the initiation of the project by providing a description of 
     the proposed project, the general location of the proposed 
     project, and a statement of any Federal approvals anticipated 
     to be necessary for the proposed project, for the purpose of 
     informing the Federal agency that the environmental review 
     should be initiated.
       ``(2) Lead agency initiation.--The agency receiving a 
     project initiation notice under paragraph (1) shall promptly 
     identify the lead agency for the project, and the lead agency 
     shall initiate the environmental review within a period of 45 
     days after receiving the notice required by paragraph (1) by 
     inviting or designating agencies to become participating 
     agencies, or, where the lead agency determines that no 
     participating agencies are required for the project, by 
     taking such other actions that are reasonable and necessary 
     to initiate the environmental review.
       ``(g) Alternatives Analysis.--
       ``(1) Participation.--As early as practicable during the 
     environmental review, but no later than during scoping for a 
     project requiring the preparation of an environmental impact 
     statement, the lead agency shall provide an opportunity for 
     involvement by cooperating agencies in determining the range 
     of alternatives to be considered for a project.
       ``(2) Range of alternatives.--Following participation under 
     paragraph (1), the lead agency shall determine the range of 
     alternatives for consideration in any document which the lead 
     agency is responsible for preparing for the project, subject 
     to the following limitations:
       ``(A) No evaluation of certain alternatives.--No Federal 
     agency shall evaluate any alternative that was identified but 
     not carried forward for detailed evaluation in an 
     environmental document or evaluated and not selected in any 
     environmental document prepared under NEPA for the same 
     project.
       ``(B) Only feasible alternatives evaluated.--Where a 
     project is being constructed, managed, funded, or undertaken 
     by a project sponsor that is not a Federal agency, Federal 
     agencies shall only be required to evaluate alternatives that 
     the project sponsor could feasibly undertake, consistent with 
     the purpose of and the need for the project, including 
     alternatives that can be undertaken by the project sponsor 
     and that are technically and economically feasible.
       ``(3) Methodologies.--
       ``(A) In general.--The lead agency shall determine, in 
     collaboration with cooperating agencies at appropriate times 
     during the environmental review, the methodologies to be used 
     and the level of detail required in the analysis of each 
     alternative for a project. The lead agency shall include in 
     the environmental document a description of the methodologies 
     used and how the methodologies were selected.
       ``(B) No evaluation of inappropriate alternatives.--When a 
     lead agency determines that an alternative does not meet the 
     purpose and need for a project, that alternative is not 
     required to be evaluated in detail in an environmental 
     document.
       ``(4) Preferred alternative.--At the discretion of the lead 
     agency, the preferred alternative for a project, after being 
     identified, may be developed to a higher level of detail than 
     other alternatives in order to facilitate the development of 
     mitigation measures or concurrent compliance with other 
     applicable laws if the lead agency determines that the 
     development of such higher level of detail will not prevent 
     the lead agency from making an impartial decision as to 
     whether to accept another alternative which is being 
     considered in the environmental review.
       ``(5) Employment analysis.--The evaluation of each 
     alternative in an environmental impact statement or an 
     environmental assessment shall identify the potential effects 
     of the alternative on employment, including potential short-
     term and long-term employment increases and reductions and 
     shifts in employment.
       ``(h) Coordination and Scheduling.--
       ``(1) Coordination plan.--
       ``(A) In general.--The lead agency shall establish and 
     implement a plan for coordinating public and agency 
     participation in and comment on the environmental review for 
     a project or category of projects to facilitate the 
     expeditious resolution of the environmental review.
       ``(B) Schedule.--

[[Page H2230]]

       ``(i) In general.--The lead agency shall establish as part 
     of the coordination plan for a project, after consultation 
     with each participating agency and, where applicable, the 
     project sponsor, a schedule for completion of the 
     environmental review. The schedule shall include deadlines, 
     consistent with subsection (i), for decisions under any other 
     Federal laws (including the issuance or denial of a permit or 
     license) relating to the project that is covered by the 
     schedule.
       ``(ii) Factors for consideration.--In establishing the 
     schedule, the lead agency shall consider factors such as--

       ``(I) the responsibilities of participating agencies under 
     applicable laws;
       ``(II) resources available to the participating agencies;
       ``(III) overall size and complexity of the project;
       ``(IV) overall schedule for and cost of the project;
       ``(V) the sensitivity of the natural and historic resources 
     that could be affected by the project; and
       ``(VI) the extent to which similar projects in geographic 
     proximity were recently subject to environmental review or 
     similar State procedures.

       ``(iii) Compliance with the schedule.--

       ``(I) All participating agencies shall comply with the time 
     periods established in the schedule or with any modified time 
     periods, where the lead agency modifies the schedule pursuant 
     to subparagraph (D).
       ``(II) The lead agency shall disregard and shall not 
     respond to or include in any document prepared under NEPA, 
     any comment or information submitted or any finding made by a 
     participating agency that is outside of the time period 
     established in the schedule or modification pursuant to 
     subparagraph (D) for that agency's comment, submission or 
     finding.
       ``(III) If a participating agency fails to object in 
     writing to a lead agency decision, finding or request for 
     concurrence within the time period established under law or 
     by the lead agency, the agency shall be deemed to have 
     concurred in the decision, finding or request.

       ``(C) Consistency with other time periods.--A schedule 
     under subparagraph (B) shall be consistent with any other 
     relevant time periods established under Federal law.
       ``(D) Modification.--The lead agency may--
       ``(i) lengthen a schedule established under subparagraph 
     (B) for good cause; and
       ``(ii) shorten a schedule only with the concurrence of the 
     cooperating agencies.
       ``(E) Dissemination.--A copy of a schedule under 
     subparagraph (B), and of any modifications to the schedule, 
     shall be--
       ``(i) provided within 15 days of completion or modification 
     of such schedule to all participating agencies and to the 
     project sponsor; and
       ``(ii) made available to the public.
       ``(F) Roles and responsibility of lead agency.--With 
     respect to the environmental review for any project, the lead 
     agency shall have authority and responsibility to take such 
     actions as are necessary and proper, within the authority of 
     the lead agency, to facilitate the expeditious resolution of 
     the environmental review for the project.
       ``(i) Deadlines.--The following deadlines shall apply to 
     any project subject to review under NEPA and any decision 
     under any Federal law relating to such project (including the 
     issuance or denial of a permit or license or any required 
     finding):
       ``(1) Environmental review deadlines.--The lead agency 
     shall complete the environmental review within the following 
     deadlines:
       ``(A) Environmental impact statement projects.--For 
     projects requiring preparation of an environmental impact 
     statement--
       ``(i) the lead agency shall issue an environmental impact 
     statement within 2 years after the earlier of the date the 
     lead agency receives the project initiation request or a 
     Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
     is published in the Federal Register; and
       ``(ii) in circumstances where the lead agency has prepared 
     an environmental assessment and determined that an 
     environmental impact statement will be required, the lead 
     agency shall issue the environmental impact statement within 
     2 years after the date of publication of the Notice of Intent 
     to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal 
     Register.
       ``(B) Environmental assessment projects.--For projects 
     requiring preparation of an environmental assessment, the 
     lead agency shall issue a finding of no significant impact or 
     publish a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact 
     Statement in the Federal Register within 1 year after the 
     earlier of the date the lead agency receives the project 
     initiation request, makes a decision to prepare an 
     environmental assessment, or sends out participating agency 
     invitations.
       ``(2) Extensions.--
       ``(A) Requirements.--The environmental review deadlines may 
     be extended only if--
       ``(i) a different deadline is established by agreement of 
     the lead agency, the project sponsor, and all participating 
     agencies; or
       ``(ii) the deadline is extended by the lead agency for good 
     cause.
       ``(B) Limitation.--The environmental review shall not be 
     extended by more than 1 year for a project requiring 
     preparation of an environmental impact statement or by more 
     than 180 days for a project requiring preparation of an 
     environmental assessment.
       ``(3) Environmental review comments.--
       ``(A) Comments on draft environmental impact statement.--
     For comments by agencies and the public on a draft 
     environmental impact statement, the lead agency shall 
     establish a comment period of not more than 60 days after 
     publication in the Federal Register of notice of the date of 
     public availability of such document, unless--
       ``(i) a different deadline is established by agreement of 
     the lead agency, the project sponsor, and all participating 
     agencies; or
       ``(ii) the deadline is extended by the lead agency for good 
     cause.
       ``(B) Other comments.--For all other comment periods for 
     agency or public comments in the environmental review 
     process, the lead agency shall establish a comment period of 
     no more than 30 days from availability of the materials on 
     which comment is requested, unless--
       ``(i) a different deadline is established by agreement of 
     the lead agency, the project sponsor, and all participating 
     agencies; or
       ``(ii) the deadline is extended by the lead agency for good 
     cause.
       ``(4) Deadlines for decisions under other laws.--
     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in any case in 
     which a decision under any other Federal law relating to the 
     undertaking of a project being reviewed under NEPA (including 
     the issuance or denial of a permit or license) is required to 
     be made, the following deadlines shall apply:
       ``(A) Decisions prior to record of decision or finding of 
     no significant impact.--If a Federal agency is required to 
     approve, or otherwise to act upon, a permit, license, or 
     other similar application for approval related to a project 
     prior to the record of decision or finding of no significant 
     impact, such Federal agency shall approve or otherwise act 
     not later than the end of a 90-day period beginning--
       ``(i) after all other relevant agency review related to the 
     project is complete; and
       ``(ii) after the lead agency publishes a notice of the 
     availability of the final environmental impact statement or 
     issuance of other final environmental documents, or no later 
     than such other date that is otherwise required by law, 
     whichever event occurs first.
       ``(B) Other decisions.--With regard to any approval or 
     other action related to a project by a Federal agency that is 
     not subject to subparagraph (A), each Federal agency shall 
     approve or otherwise act not later than the end of a period 
     of 180 days beginning--
       ``(i) after all other relevant agency review related to the 
     project is complete; and
       ``(ii) after the lead agency issues the record of decision 
     or finding of no significant impact, unless a different 
     deadline is established by agreement of the Federal agency, 
     lead agency, and the project sponsor, where applicable, or 
     the deadline is extended by the Federal agency for good 
     cause, provided that such extension shall not extend beyond a 
     period that is 1 year after the lead agency issues the record 
     of decision or finding of no significant impact.
       ``(C) Failure to act.--In the event that any Federal agency 
     fails to approve, or otherwise to act upon, a permit, 
     license, or other similar application for approval related to 
     a project within the applicable deadline described in 
     subparagraph (A) or (B), the permit, license, or other 
     similar application shall be deemed approved by such agency 
     and the agency shall take action in accordance with such 
     approval within 30 days of the applicable deadline described 
     in subparagraph (A) or (B).
       ``(D) Final agency action.--Any approval under subparagraph 
     (C) is deemed to be final agency action, and may not be 
     reversed by any agency. In any action under chapter 7 seeking 
     review of such a final agency action, the court may not set 
     aside such agency action by reason of that agency action 
     having occurred under this paragraph.
       ``(j) Issue Identification and Resolution.--
       ``(1) Cooperation.--The lead agency and the participating 
     agencies shall work cooperatively in accordance with this 
     section to identify and resolve issues that could delay 
     completion of the environmental review or could result in 
     denial of any approvals required for the project under 
     applicable laws.
       ``(2) Lead agency responsibilities.--The lead agency shall 
     make information available to the participating agencies as 
     early as practicable in the environmental review regarding 
     the environmental, historic, and socioeconomic resources 
     located within the project area and the general locations of 
     the alternatives under consideration. Such information may be 
     based on existing data sources, including geographic 
     information systems mapping.
       ``(3) Participating agency responsibilities.--Based on 
     information received from the lead agency, participating 
     agencies shall identify, as early as practicable, any issues 
     of concern regarding the project's potential environmental, 
     historic, or socioeconomic impacts. In this paragraph, issues 
     of concern include any issues that could substantially delay 
     or prevent an agency from granting a permit or other approval 
     that is needed for the project.
       ``(4) Issue resolution.--
       ``(A) Meeting of participating agencies.--At any time upon 
     request of a project sponsor, the lead agency shall promptly 
     convene a meeting with the relevant participating agencies 
     and the project sponsor, to resolve issues that could delay 
     completion of the environmental review or could result in 
     denial of any approvals required for the project under 
     applicable laws.
       ``(B) Notice that resolution cannot be achieved.--If a 
     resolution cannot be achieved within 30 days following such a 
     meeting and a determination by the lead agency that all 
     information necessary to resolve the issue has been obtained, 
     the lead agency shall notify the heads of all participating 
     agencies, the project sponsor, and the Council on 
     Environmental Quality for further proceedings in accordance 
     with section 204 of NEPA, and shall publish such notification 
     in the Federal Register.
       ``(k) Report to Congress.--The head of each Federal agency 
     shall report annually to Congress--
       ``(1) the projects for which the agency initiated 
     preparation of an environmental impact statement or 
     environmental assessment;

[[Page H2231]]

       ``(2) the projects for which the agency issued a record of 
     decision or finding of no significant impact and the length 
     of time it took the agency to complete the environmental 
     review for each such project;
       ``(3) the filing of any lawsuits against the agency seeking 
     judicial review of a permit, license, or approval issued by 
     the agency for an action subject to NEPA, including the date 
     the complaint was filed, the court in which the complaint was 
     filed, and a summary of the claims for which judicial review 
     was sought; and
       ``(4) the resolution of any lawsuits against the agency 
     that sought judicial review of a permit, license, or approval 
     issued by the agency for an action subject to NEPA.
       ``(l) Limitations on Claims.--
       ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, a claim arising under Federal law seeking judicial 
     review of a permit, license, or approval issued by a Federal 
     agency for an action subject to NEPA shall be barred unless--
       ``(A) in the case of a claim pertaining to a project for 
     which an environmental review was conducted and an 
     opportunity for comment was provided, the claim is filed by a 
     party that submitted a comment during the environmental 
     review on the issue on which the party seeks judicial review, 
     and such comment was sufficiently detailed to put the lead 
     agency on notice of the issue upon which the party seeks 
     judicial review; and
       ``(B) filed within 180 days after publication of a notice 
     in the Federal Register announcing that the permit, license, 
     or approval is final pursuant to the law under which the 
     agency action is taken, unless a shorter time is specified in 
     the Federal law pursuant to which judicial review is allowed.
       ``(2) New information.--The preparation of a supplemental 
     environmental impact statement, when required, is deemed a 
     separate final agency action and the deadline for filing a 
     claim for judicial review of such action shall be 180 days 
     after the date of publication of a notice in the Federal 
     Register announcing the record of decision for such action. 
     Any claim challenging agency action on the basis of 
     information in a supplemental environmental impact statement 
     shall be limited to challenges on the basis of that 
     information.
       ``(3) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this subsection 
     shall be construed to create a right to judicial review or 
     place any limit on filing a claim that a person has violated 
     the terms of a permit, license, or approval.
       ``(m) Categories of Projects.--The authorities granted 
     under this subchapter may be exercised for an individual 
     project or a category of projects.
       ``(n) Effective Date.--The requirements of this subchapter 
     shall apply only to environmental reviews and environmental 
     decisionmaking processes initiated after the date of 
     enactment of this subchapter.
       ``(o) Applicability.--Except as provided in subsection (p), 
     this subchapter applies, according to the provisions thereof, 
     to all projects for which a Federal agency is required to 
     undertake an environmental review or make a decision under an 
     environmental law for a project for which a Federal agency is 
     undertaking an environmental review.
       ``(p) Savings Clause.--Nothing in this section shall be 
     construed to supersede, amend, or modify sections 134, 135, 
     139, 325, 326, and 327 of title 23, sections 5303 and 5304 of 
     title 49, or subtitle C of title I of division A of the 
     Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act and the 
     amendments made by such subtitle (Public Law 112-141).''.
       (b) Technical Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 
     5 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting 
     after the items relating to subchapter II the following:

    ``subchapter iia--interagency coordination regarding permitting

       ``560. Coordination of agency administrative operations for 
           efficient decisionmaking.''.
       (c) Regulations.--
       (1) Council on environmental quality.--Not later than 180 
     days after the date of enactment of this title, the Council 
     on Environmental Quality shall amend the regulations 
     contained in part 1500 of title 40, Code of Federal 
     Regulations, to implement the provisions of this title and 
     the amendments made by this title, and shall by rule 
     designate States with laws and procedures that satisfy the 
     criteria under section 560(d)(2)(A) of title 5, United States 
     Code.
       (2) Federal agencies.--Not later than 120 days after the 
     date that the Council on Environmental Quality amends the 
     regulations contained in part 1500 of title 40, Code of 
     Federal Regulations, to implement the provisions of this 
     title and the amendments made by this title, each Federal 
     agency with regulations implementing the National 
     Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 
     shall amend such regulations to implement the provisions of 
     this subchapter.

  The CHAIR. No amendment to that amendment in the nature of a 
substitute shall be in order except those printed in part C of House 
Report 113-374. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order 
printed in the report, by a Member designated in the report, shall be 
considered read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the 
report, equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an 
opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject 
to a demand for division of the question.


               Amendment No. 1 Offered by Ms. Jackson Lee

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 printed in 
part C of House Report 113-374.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 25, strike lines 1 through 19.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 501, the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas.

                              {time}  1300

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, my amendment strikes the provision 
deeming approved any project in which the agency does not meet 
deadlines contained in the bill. As we have listened to the discussion, 
as I indicated in my earlier time on the floor, there is much that we 
can agree to on the issue of making more effective our Federal 
Government, making it work for the people. We all agree to that. In 
fact, I had suggested that we provide full funding for infrastructure 
rebuild.
  But this bill ignores the value of oversight. The bill also ignores 
the fact that NEPA has, for more than 40 years, provided an effective 
framework for all types of projects--not just construction projects--
that require Federal approval pursuant to a Federal law such as the 
Clean Air Act.
  I want to read into the Record a comment that I made earlier, why 
this is a misdirected legislation. The CEQ, general counsel for 25 
years during the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush 
administrations, who was intimately involved in the implementation of 
NEPA through the executive branch, observed most delays in the 
environmental review processes are caused by factors other than NEPA or 
justified by the nature of the project.
  But yet this bill would indicate that if by the time that this bill 
designates the oversight has not been finished--that could be an 
oversight for a nuclear-fired plant; it could be an oversight dealing 
with some of the energy resources that we have that require that kind 
of oversight; it could be the oversight of building a major 
construction project through a heavily populated neighborhood; or it 
could be oversight on many aspects of America's business--then this 
bill says it is simply deemed up--deemed up, Mr. Chairman.
  So how can one believe that problems will be solved by just 
ignoring--ignoring--the process?
  There is a major problem with the section that my amendment 
addresses, and that is that automatic approval, that deeming up, that 
beaming up. And so I would ask my colleagues to support the Jackson Lee 
amendment which relieves us of that burden of fearfully passing 
legislation that would, in fact, deem up.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chair, with all due respect to my colleague with whom 
we have worked closely on several matters on several committees, Mr. 
Chairman, the American people desperately need new jobs. Just this 
week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that America's labor 
force participation rate is at a 35-year low. Over 92 million Americans 
who could work are outside of the workforce. That is more than the 
population of all but 14 of the world's 228 countries--and more than 
every country in the Western Hemisphere but Brazil and Mexico.
  We face this historically low rate not because Americans don't want 
to work, but because so many Americans have despaired of any hope of 
finding a new full-time job and have abandoned the workforce. The RAPID 
Act offers strong help to reverse this tragedy, restore hope, and 
produce millions of new jobs.
  We must pass the bill, not weaken it, to provide these new, high-wage 
jobs. But the gentlelady's amendment would weaken the bill in one of 
the worst possible ways. It would remove the clear consequence in the 
bill for agencies

[[Page H2232]]

that refuse to follow the bill's deadlines. That consequence is to deem 
permits approved if agencies refuse to approve or deny them within 
those deadlines.
  Mr. Chairman, the bill provides 4\1/2\ years for agencies to complete 
their environmental reviews for new permit applications and reasonable 
additional time for agencies to wrap up final permit approvals or 
denials after that. 4\1/2\ years is more time than it took the United 
States to fight and win World War II.
  If agencies can't wrap up their environmental reviews in that much 
time and then meet the bill's remaining deadlines, there is something 
terribly wrong with the agencies. The prospect of facing a default 
approval at the end of the substantial time the bill grants is an 
eminently responsible, reasonable way to assure that agencies will 
conduct full reviews and wrap their work up in time to make up-or-down 
decisions on their own.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment, and, reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, how much time remains on each side?
  The CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Texas has 2\1/2\ minutes remaining. 
The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 3 minutes remaining.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me restate again what is in this legislation.
  If a Federal agency fails to approve or disapprove the project or 
make the required finding of the determination within the applicable 
deadline, which is either 90 days or 180 days, depending on the 
situation, then the project is automatically deemed approved--deemed 
approved--by such agency.
  Mr. Chairman, do the American people want something deemed approved 
that might be a dangerous and unsuitable project in their community?
  And as it relates to the creation of jobs, I thank the gentleman for 
his explanation, but I will tell you that it is said by the Federal 
Highway Administration, the majority of the approved projects required 
limited documentation or analysis under NEPA. Further, when 
environmental requirements have caused project delays, requirements 
established under laws other than NEPA have generally been the fault. 
NEPA has not stopped the creation of jobs.
  But what I can tell my good friend is that, if we could pass the 
unemployment insurance extension, we can give opportunity to Americans 
to keep looking for jobs; and if we pass an infrastructure bill, we 
would have jobs.
  So my point is that my amendment is very simple. It is just to 
eliminate that provision that might dangerously put Americans in 
jeopardy by, in essence, allowing projects to be approved while there 
is a studious, conscientious review of that project that is to generate 
jobs but to provide for the safety, the security, the tranquility, and 
the peace of the American people. I can't imagine that we would want to 
throw into legislation on streamlining an absolute hatchet that says 
your neck is cut off if, in fact, you are not finished with your work; 
the heck with it, we are going on to produce this project.
  I know that the American people believe in the spirit of my good 
friend from Pennsylvania's intentions. We can work together. We can put 
legislation forward that can be constructive. But a shortened time of 4 
years is nothing to celebrate if, in essence, the time is needed for 
review.
  I have cited some of the challenges that we face: oil spills; 
construction projects that have seen large numbers of deaths because of 
the way it was done; collapse of buildings, as we have seen in the 
tragedy of the building that was collapsed in Pennsylvania; and other 
terrible disasters that have occurred that require the rebuild of 
certain facilities in the United States.
  I cannot imagine--again, I might say that the general counsel that 
was general counsel for the CEQ to all of the last four Presidents has 
indicated NEPA is not a problem.
  I ask that my amendment, the Jackson Lee amendment, be supported and 
make this legislation a step better and a step in a direction to get it 
where it should be. I ask my colleagues to support my amendment.
  Mr. Chair, for this opportunity to explain my amendment to H.R. 2641, 
the ``Responsible and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 
2013.''
  If the RAPID Act were to become law in its present form, a permit or 
license for project would be ``deemed'' approved if the reviewing 
agency does not issue the requested permit or license within 90-120 
days.
  My amendment strikes the provision deeming approved any project for 
which agency does not meet deadlines contained in the bill.
  Mr. Chair, I share some of the frustrations expressed by many members 
of this committee with the NEPA process.
  There is something odd about a system in which it can take half a 
year or more to approve the siting plan for a wind farm but fracking 
operations regulations can be approved and conducted a few hundred feet 
from somebody's home with no community oversight process in just a few 
months.
  Something is wrong with this picture.
  But I strongly believe that this bill is a solution in search of a 
problem.
  Mr. Chair, why are we wasting time with this bill when we could be 
passing H.R. 3546, a bill introduced by my colleague Sandy Levin, the 
distinguished Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, which 
amends the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to extend emergency 
unemployment compensation (EUC) payments for eligible individuals to 
weeks of employment ending on or before January 1, 2015.
  Or we could bring up and pass H.R. 3888, ``The New Chance For a New 
Start in Life Act,'' a bill I introduced which provides grants for 
training to those out of work--who are merely seeking to pull 
themselves up by their bootstraps--the American way.
  But here we are on the Floor of the House of Representatives voting 
and speaking on the ``Regrettably Another Partisan Ideological 
Distraction Act.''
  The bill in its current form is an example of a medicine that is 
worse than a disease.
  There is a major problem with the section that my amendment 
addresses, namely automatic approval of projects with the need for 
positive agency action.
  Under H.R. 2641, if a federal agency fails to approve or disapprove 
the project or make the required finding of the termination within the 
applicable deadline, which is either 90 days or 180 days, depending on 
the situation, then the project is automatically deemed approved, 
deemed approved by such agency.
  This creates a set of perverse incentives. First, as an agency is up 
against that deadline and legitimate work is yet to be completed, it is 
likely to disapprove the project simply because the issues have not 
been vetted.
  Second, frequently there are times when it is the case that the 
complexity of issues that need to be resolved necessitates a longer 
review period, rather than an arbitrary limit.
  So if H.R. 2641 were to become law the most likely outcome is that 
federal agencies would be required to make decisions based on 
incomplete information, or information that may not be available within 
the stringent deadlines, and to deny applications that otherwise would 
have been approved, but for lack of sufficient review time.
  In other words, fewer projects would be approved, not more.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment sets up a trigger after a period of time 
for a process, which is not automatic approval, but is rather a 
convening of the stakeholders around figuring out what is standing in 
the way of the NEPA decision.
  Mr. Chair, the new requirements contained in H.R. 2641 amend the 
environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA), even though the bill is drafted as an amendment to the APA.
  The bill ignores the fact that NEPA has for more than 40 years 
provided an effective framework for all types of projects (not just 
construction projects) that require federal approval pursuant to a 
federal law, such as the Clean Air Act.
  I urge my colleagues to support the Jackson Lee Amendment to H.R. 
2641 and keep Americans working.
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chairman, I am just going to close on this thought 
here. My colleague on the other side says that 4\1/2\ years is just 
simply not enough time to go through the permitting and licensing 
project. Just think about this: ask the people in the private sector 
when you see buildings going up, before they are going up when there is 
a statement on the land where the building is going to go up as to this 
project is going to take place in so much time, ask those people, get 
information to see how long it takes the private sector to do the same 
thing that the Federal Government is supposed to be doing. At most, a 
couple of years--not 10 years, not 12 years, not 15 years. Private 
industry can have this done in a couple of years with all the research, 
with all the permitting, with all the licensing, and with all the 
hearings.
  I think one of my colleagues said this blocks out the public from 
hearing or making any statements. That is simply

[[Page H2233]]

not true. That is absolutely not true. The public still has the time 
and can do that.
  So with that, I oppose my good friend's amendment, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on 
the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Texas will be postponed.


                Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. McKinley

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 printed in 
part C of House Report 113-374.
  Mr. McKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 27, insert after line 17 the following, and 
     redesignate succeeding subsections accordingly:
       ``(k) Limitation on Use of Social Cost of Carbon .--
       ``(1) In general.--In the case of any environmental review 
     or environmental decisionmaking process, a lead agency may 
     not use the social cost of carbon.
       ``(2) Definition.--In this subsection, the term `social 
     cost of carbon' means the social cost of carbon as described 
     in the technical support document entitled `Technical Support 
     Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for 
     Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866', 
     published by the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of 
     Carbon, United States Government, in May 2013, revised in 
     November 2013, or any successor thereto or substantially 
     related document, or any other estimate of the monetized 
     damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon 
     dioxide emissions in a given year.''.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 501, the gentleman from West 
Virginia (Mr. McKinley) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from West Virginia.
  Mr. McKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would prohibit agencies 
under this legislation from using the social cost of carbon that this 
administration implemented under executive order. Late on a Friday 
afternoon in June of 2013, this increase in the cost estimate for the 
social cost of carbon showed up in an obscure rule regarding microwave 
ovens. In typical fashion with this administration, there was no public 
debate, no stakeholder comment, and no vote in Congress for this 
estimate which increased the cost over 50 percent. But they didn't 
consider the social cost of mental anguish and health care for those 
that lose their job as a result.
  Then again, this is the same administration who issued a de facto ban 
on new coal-fired powerhouses and refused to hold listening sessions in 
the areas most affected by fossil fuels. Coal production is down 
throughout Appalachia, and down by nearly half over the last 5 years 
under this administration.
  Too many people in Washington just don't get it. When you shut down 
the fossil fuel industry in a community--in particular, a coal mine--
you shut down an entire community. Railroad workers, machinists, timber 
and coal industries, pharmacists, and schoolteachers all are effected 
by these kinds of policies. Entire communities, the social fabric of 
our Nation, are on edge while this administration's ideologically 
driven policies are threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs all 
across America.
  This is the same President who, in 2008, said he would bankrupt the 
coal industry. This has become personal to me, Mr. Chairman, and many 
people throughout the coalfields of America. The rest of the world is 
investing in coal, building new plants, and increasing their 
consumption of coal--but not here in America.
  This President is gambling with our economy and risking America's 
future. For a President who likes to talk about fairness, Mr. Chairman, 
blaming our fossil fuels as a health risk isn't fair.
  But then again, is it fair for the EPA to require standards that 
can't be achieved? Is it fair to blame man for climate change when 
naturally occurring CO2 emissions represent 96 percent 
naturally, while U.S. coal emissions contributed only two-tenths? Let 
me say that again. Two-tenths of 1 percent of the emissions occur from 
coal-fired powerhouses.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, this amendment would prohibit an 
agency from considering the social cost of carbon--social cost of 
carbon--in an agency's environmental review of a proposed construction 
project.
  This amendment ignores the fundamental reality that climate change is 
real and we need to do something about it. The social cost of carbon, 
or SCC, is an estimate of the social and economic benefits of reducing 
carbon dioxide emissions that began under the Bush administration and 
has been upheld by the courts. For example, the U.S. Court of Appeals 
for the Ninth Circuit ordered the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration to include SCC in its light-truck fuel economy standards 
in 2007.
  Thomas Sterner, an economist with the Environmental Defense Fund, 
cited the Obama administration's SCC estimates as ``a welcome step 
forward, reflecting the latest versions of the underlying models.'' 
Billy Pizer, a Duke University economist, notes that the ``key thing is 
we are recognizing the answer is not zero. We know there are negative 
consequences. And we are trying to put an accurate dollar value on 
it.''
  Even William Bumpers, an attorney with Baker Botts, who typically 
represents manufacturers in pollution cases, acknowledged that the 
``only real cost of carbon that I know is wrong is zero.''

                              {time}  1315

  Perhaps most importantly for purposes of this amendment is that there 
is overwhelming consensus that every ton of carbon dioxide emitted into 
the atmosphere has very real costs to human health, ecosystems, and the 
economy.
  The SCC estimates involve extensive analysis of the best available 
peer-reviewed literature and climate economic assessment models. They 
include a broad range of costs associated with anticipated climate 
impacts on society, such as the property damage from increased flood 
risks, or the additional energy costs associated with climate 
oscillations.
  Since 2009 alone, there have been a series of major climatic events 
that demonstrate the costly effects of climate change. How many so-
called ``hundred-year storms'' have to hit a major city like New York 
before climate skeptics will wake up?
  The 2011 Texas drought alone cost farmers and ranchers over $5 
billion. How many farmer's crops must wither on the vine before we face 
up to the real costs inaction?
  I ask my colleagues to oppose this very detrimental amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, I think we all can admit that 
CO2 emissions have increased. In the last numbers of years, 
200 years, CO2 emissions have increased from 320 parts per 
million to 400 parts per million. During this same period of time, 
however, population has expanded by eight times. Life expectancy across 
the world has doubled. Human cancers and viral diseases have decreased. 
Do opponents of our fossil fuels truly believe our society will be 
developed on anything other than cheap, abundant, and reliable sources 
of energy such as coal and natural gas?
  Fossil fuels have lifted billions of people out of poverty. 
CO2 is essential to human life. In The New York Times, Bill 
Gates was quoted as saying:

       If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far 
     you would pick energy.

  According to statistics from the EIA, in 2010, 80 percent of the 
world's GDP is attributed to fossil fuels. This represents $60 
trillion.
  However, the opponents of this amendment and fossil fuels in general 
turn a blind eye to the suffering of over 1.3 billion people across the 
world who have no access to electricity for heating, cooking, and water 
supplies. That is a social travesty.
  To quote one climate scientist we spoke with:


[[Page H2234]]


       Just so radical environmentalists can feel better about 
     themselves, they prevent families and children living in 
     poverty from having access to the most dependable and 
     affordable energy resources.

  That, Mr. Chairman, is immoral.
  In closing, I would like to thank Chairman Goodlatte for his staunch 
support of this amendment and his hard work on the underlying 
legislation. I urge all of my colleagues to accept this amendment and 
the legislation. Poverty is not just the number one threat to the 
environment and health in our society, but throughout the world in 
general.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Virginia, Chairman 
Goodlatte.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of the gentleman's 
amendment.
  Mr. Chair, I support the amendment.
  It is bad enough that agencies already take too much time to conclude 
construction permit reviews. It is even worse for them to draw out the 
process on the basis of junk science. And that is precisely what the 
Obama Administration's pronouncements on the ``Social Cost of Carbon'' 
appear to be.
  To be specific, multiple commenters on the Administration's latest 
``findings'' argue that ``carbon's social cost is an unknown quantity; 
that [social-cost-of-carbon] analysts can get just about any result 
they desire by fiddling with non-validated climate parameters, made-up 
damage functions, and below-market discount rates; and that [social-
cost-of-carbon] analysis is computer-aided sophistry, its political 
function being to make renewable energy look like a bargain at any 
price and fossil energy look unaffordable no matter how cheap.''
  Junk science and sophistry have no place standing between hardworking 
Americans and new, high-paying jobs. I urge my colleagues to support 
the amendment.
  Mr. McKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from West Virginia (Mr. McKinley).
  The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on 
the amendment offered by the gentleman from West Virginia will be 
postponed.


           Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Webster of Florida

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 printed in 
part C of House Report 113-374.
  Mr. WEBSTER of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 30, line 9, insert after ``subchapter.'' the 
     following: ``In the case of a project for which an 
     environmental review or environmental decisionmaking process 
     was initiated prior to the date of enactment of this 
     subchapter, the provisions of subsection (i) shall apply, 
     except that, notwithstanding any other provision of this 
     section, in determining a deadline under such subsection, any 
     applicable period of time shall be calculated as beginning 
     from the date of enactment of this subchapter.''.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 501, the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Webster) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman.
  Mr. WEBSTER of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I thank Chairman Goodlatte and Mr. Marino for putting forth this 
bill, the RAPID Act. This bill is a giant step toward implementing an 
environmental review process that works. I offer an amendment today not 
to alter the process, but to ensure that projects that are currently 
languishing in current environmental review have an opportunity to 
access the tools provided in this bill.
  Infrastructure projects are vital to my home State of Florida. From 
port infrastructure to airports to seaports, road projects, even the 
Everglades restoration projects, my State's economy is supported by 
wise in investment in infrastructure.
  Two projects in my State have suffered greatly under the current 
environmental review process. Orlando International Airport has had 
plans to develop a piece of property for airport services for more than 
a decade. The expansion would create skilled, high-paying jobs, and 
would be a boost to central Florida's economy. The plans have been 
under environmental review since 2008. A simple environmental 
assessment should not take more than 6 years.
  Another project in our State, Port Everglades, involves deepening an 
existing channel by a few feet. The deepening of the channel at Port 
Everglades will allow more exports to flow out of our State on Post 
Panamax ships. This project is vital to our State as a whole, but also 
important to central Florida due to the large amounts of citrus that 
ships out of our State through Port Everglades. The more citrus we can 
ship, the more jobs we create. However, the channel deepening has been 
under environmental review for more than 17 years. For nearly two 
decades, Port Everglades has been caught in an endless cycle of review. 
The Florida delegation is committed, both Republicans and Democrats, to 
getting this project complete.
  My amendment today is offered with these projects in mind. This 
amendment simply applies the same timelines that the RAPID Act 
establishes for new projects to projects that are currently under 
review.
  Does it mean that they would be automatically, if it is already 4\1/
2\ years into the project? No, it just means that timeline would not go 
beyond another 4\1/2\ years.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this 
amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would make the 
so-called RAPID Act, which, by the way, I would rename, as our caucus 
has done, the Regrettably Another Partisan Ideological Distraction Act.
  This RAPID Act will apply retroactively to construction projects that 
are currently under review. As a result, all of the bill's problematic 
provisions that we have cited, including its arbitrary deadlines for 
environmental review and restrictions on public comment, would apply to 
pending construction projects that require Federal approval or Federal 
permitting.
  This amendment, like the RAPID Act, ignores the fact that NEPA is not 
the problem. According to the Congressional Research Service, which is 
nonpartisan, project approval delays based on environmental 
requirements are not caused by NEPA. Rather, CRS reports that these 
delays are caused by State and local factors like project funding 
levels, local opposition to a project, a project's complexity, or late 
changes in the project scope.
  This amendment would do nothing to address the underlying problem, 
and that underlying problem is the lack of funding. So we need to 
address, Mr. Chairman, the root causes of the delays in the process, 
not threaten public health and safety by automatically approving 
projects when agencies fail to meet arbitrary deadlines.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WEBSTER of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I want to make sure everyone 
understands what this does. It would limit to 4\1/2\ more years. So we 
have a project 17 years in. Now we are saying, all right, can you give 
us an answer in 4\1/2\ more years? Over two decades, and we can't get 
an answer? I don't know; maybe we won't. But if the answer is ``no,'' 
say it. That is all they have to do. This doesn't automatically approve 
anything. What it says is, Give us an answer. Isn't 21 years long 
enough?
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I think it is appropriate that 
I utter this saying: Show me the money. When the money is there, 
projects can start being funded and work can begin. Workers can start 
working and getting paychecks. In that way, we will reinvigorate this 
economy. We have got to have--instead of anti-regulatory bills, we need 
job-creation bills.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WEBSTER of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Marino).
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Chair, just to highlight some construction that has 
taken place in the past before we had all this regulation: San 
Francisco Bay Bridge construction started July 9, 1933, and the bridge 
opened up on November 12, 1936. Chesapeake Bay Bridge construction 
started in January of 1949 and the

[[Page H2235]]

bridge opened up July 30, 1952. Empire State Building construction 
started January 22, 1930, and the building opened up May 1, 1931. The 
Chrysler Building construction began in 1926 and was completed in 1930. 
One of my favorites: the new Yankee Stadium groundbreaking was in 
August of 2006; opening day was April of 2009.
  There are thousands of comedians out of business. If my colleagues on 
the other side of the aisle would get serious about following the 
premise that the American people want--less red tape--instead of trying 
to be funny, we would be in good shape.
  Mr. WEBSTER of Florida. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank the gentleman, and I rise in strong support of 
the gentleman's amendment.
  Mr. Chair, I support the amendment.
  The RAPID Act includes important reforms to assure that agencies wrap 
up their environmental reviews for construction permits within a 
generous four-and-one-half years. The current language of the bill 
applies these reforms to all ``environmental reviews'' and all 
``environmental decisionmaking processes'' begun after the bill's 
enactment.
  The amendment takes the next step and applies the bill to 
environmental reviews and environmental decisionmaking processes begun 
before enactment. But it also generously provides that the time 
remaining for agencies to conclude a review or decisionmaking process 
will be calculated as if the review or process had begun on the date of 
enactment--just as with a new permit application. Other deadlines in 
the bill will likewise be calculated as if the relevant timeframe began 
on the date of enactment, not before enactment.
  The amendment thus represents a very reasonable balance between 
assuring that pending permit applications will at last be wrapped up 
and providing agencies with adequate time to wrap them up.
  I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
  Mr. WEBSTER of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for his 
support, and I urge Members to vote for this amendment. It is a good 
amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Webster).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Nadler

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 printed in 
part C of House Report 113-374.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:
       Page 30, line 23, insert after ``112-141).'' the following:
       ``(q) Exception.--
       ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     this section, the provisions of this section shall not apply 
     in the case of a project described in paragraph (2), or an 
     environmental document pertaining to such a project.
       ``(2) Project described.--A project described in this 
     paragraph is any project that pertains to a nuclear facility 
     in an area designated as an earthquake fault zone.''.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 501, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Nadler) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, my amendment exempts from the bill any construction 
project for a nuclear facility planned in an area designated as an 
earthquake fault zone.
  The RAPID Act would prevent meaningful input on complicated 
construction projects that have the potential to have disastrous impact 
on individuals living near them.
  The meltdown of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power 
plant in Japan in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami 
highlights the dangers of regulatory failure when it comes to ensuring 
the safe operation of nuclear reactors. In particular, the Fukushima 
disaster illustrates the failure in planning a construction project in 
an area susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis.
  March 11, 2014, next week, marks the 3-year anniversary of the 
Fukushima meltdown. A recent reporter visiting the site described it 
like this:

       The site of Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan remains a 
     post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned towns, frozen in 
     time.

                              {time}  1330

  Now, consider the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, which is only 24 
miles from New York City and, according to the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, could be at risk of reactor core damage from an earthquake. 
An estimated 17 million people live within a 50-mile radius of the 
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.
  By imposing strict deadlines and limiting opportunities for agencies 
and the public to participate in the approval process, this bill could 
prevent the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from being able to protect 
the tens of millions who live in the greater New York Metropolitan area 
and millions of Americans who live near nuclear power plants from a 
catastrophe akin to what happened at Fukushima in Japan.
  I want to point out that we have already had nuclear accidents right 
here in the United States. Just last month, night shift workers inhaled 
plutonium that was leaked from a nuclear waste burial site in Carlsbad, 
New Mexico.
  Radioactive materials reached the surface and were inhaled by several 
workers. Those workers face the possibility of subatomic particles 
bombarding their internal organs for the rest of their lives.
  Now, imagine the immense risk to human health that would result from 
a large-scale leak caused by an earthquake. It would be catastrophic. 
We cannot afford to water down nuclear regulations or restrict the 
ability of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from doing its job of 
protecting human health.
  My amendment would ensure that the inclusive and prudential 
construction approval process that currently exists under the National 
Environmental Policy Act will continue to apply to any construction 
projects for a nuclear facility planned in an area designated as an 
earthquake fault zone.
  The procedures in this bill that would short-circuit the NEPA 
procedures are just too dangerous when you are considering an 
application to construct a nuclear facility in an earthquake fault 
zone.
  I urge everyone to support the amendment because, when it comes to 
constructing a nuclear facility in an earthquake fault zone, we really 
cannot be too careful.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, the amendment is unnecessary and could 
needlessly block important energy construction projects from breaking 
ground.
  The March 2011 ``Project No Project'' study identified 351 energy 
projects, including nuclear projects, that, if approved, could generate 
$1.1 trillion for the economy and create 1.9 million jobs annually.
  I appreciate that my colleague is concerned about the safety of 
nuclear power, including in earthquake fault zones. The RAPID Act does 
not require agencies to approve or deny any particular project or 
permit application.
  It simply ensures that the environmental review and permitting 
process is conducted by agencies in an efficient and transparent 
manner. It is consistent with the administration's own guidance, the 
President's Jobs Council's recommendations, prior, bipartisan 
legislation, and the all-of-the-above energy strategy that America 
needs.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, I would simply point out that, no, the 
RAPID Act does not guarantee any nuclear power plant or anything else, 
but it does short-circuit the proper review.
  It, for instance, says that if certain procedures are not completed 
within a certain period of time, the application is deemed approved. It 
means that the applicant can slow-walk information and get an approval 
automatically because the review is not complete within a period of 
time.
  It is just too dangerous. The present procedures that we have have, 
in fact, allowed us to build the nuclear power plants, and other 
facilities have been built.
  We should not play Russian roulette with the lives of millions of 
Americans

[[Page H2236]]

by short-circuiting the environmental review of nuclear power plants, 
especially in earthquake fault zones.
  Yes, we need energy. Yes, we should have energy from all sorts of 
power sources, but we should do it safely and not risk Fukushimas 
galore.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to oppose this 
amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Nadler).
  The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on 
the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York will be postponed.


           Amendment No. 5 Offered by Mr. Johnson of Georgia

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 5 printed in 
part C of House Report 113-374.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 32, after line 2, insert the following:
       (d) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act or the 
     amendments made by this Act shall have the effect of changing 
     or limiting any law or regulation that requires or provides 
     for public comment or public participation in an agency 
     decision making process.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 501, the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Johnson) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I thank the Rules Committee for 
making my amendment in order and urge my colleagues to support my 
commonsense amendment to protect the right of the public to comment on 
Federal projects under the NEPA review process.
  The purpose of my amendment is simple. It protects the right of the 
public to comment. This amendment would ensure that H.R. 2641, the so-
called RAPID Act of 2013, does not restrict the right of any member of 
the public to comment on construction projects that may have an 
environmental impact.
  Like the administration and more than 20 well-respected environmental 
groups, I oppose the RAPID Act. This bill threatens public health and 
safety by putting a thumb on the scales in favor of private sector 
businesses in the project approval process.
  It is yet another antiregulatory measure whose sole purpose is to 
grease the wheels of the approval process for projects that are 
environmentally sensitive.
  Aside from creating duplicative and costly regulatory requirements 
that pertain to only certain types of projects, the RAPID Act would 
also limit the right of the public to comment on these projects.
  The bill does that in two ways: First, by reducing opportunities for 
public input; and, second, by fast-tracking the approval process 
through arbitrary deadlines.
  The NEPA approval process has protected the environment for more than 
20 years, Mr. Chairman, and it is designed to be smart from the start.
  Through an open, flexible, and timely process, NEPA empowers the 
public to weigh in on decisions. That means that the local farmer who 
owns land that would be affected by a Federal construction project has 
equal footing as the company that would stand to benefit from that 
project. My amendment is vital to ensuring that the RAPID Act doesn't 
shut the public out of this process.
  I hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join me 
in ensuring that the RAPID Act does not foreclose public participation.
  Accordingly, I urge that this committee make my amendment in order, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  The RAPID Act will create jobs by ensuring that the Federal 
environmental review and permitting process works like it should. The 
RAPID Act is drafted to make agencies operate efficiently and 
transparently; it does not prevent citizens from participating in this 
process.
  In fact, the bill makes sure that agencies provide the public with 
reasonable public comment periods. It authorizes up to 60 days of 
public comment on Environmental Impact Statements, up to 30 days of 
comment on environmental assessments and other documents, and grants 
the lead agency authority to negotiate extensions or provide them on 
its own for good cause.
  This is more than fair. By comparison, the National Environmental 
Policy Act, or NEPA, regulations only require agencies to allow 45 days 
for public comment on draft Environmental Impact Statements and 30 days 
for public comments on final Environmental Impact Statements.
  The RAPID Act also reasonably requires that a person comment on an 
environmental document before challenging it in court, and bring any 
suit within 6 months, as opposed to 6 years. Opponents should not be 
able to delay a project indefinitely by playing hide-the-ball with 
agencies or by resting on their rights.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Webster of Florida). The question is on the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson).
  The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia will 
be postponed.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Womack) having assumed the chair, Mr. Webster of Florida, Acting Chair 
of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported 
that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 
2641) to provide for improved coordination of agency actions in the 
preparation and adoption of environmental documents for permitting 
determinations, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution 
thereon.

                          ____________________