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NRCA issues a statement about the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act

December 2015

NRCA commends Congress for approving legislation that will reduce regulatory burdens and ultimately improve economic growth and job creation throughout the U.S. On Dec. 3, the House approved a final version of the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act , which reforms and streamlines the permitting process for private and public construction projects that require environmental permits. The RAPID Act was included in a surface transportation bill (H.R. 22) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

NRCA supported this "permit streamlining" legislation given that delays in permitting can stall work for contractors on many types of construction projects. Under current regulations, it can often take years or even decades to gain the necessary approval for major private and public construction projects. The RAPID Act streamlines the regulatory process under which many public and private construction projects obtain required environmental permits so they can proceed in a timely manner.

The new law will bring greater efficiency, transparency and accountability to the federal permitting review process. Its coverage is broad, including infrastructure, energy, aviation, broadband and manufacturing projects. Key provisions of the regulatory reform provisions of H.R. 22 include:
  • Establishing a permitting timetable, including intermediate and final completion dates for covered projects
  • Designation of a lead agency to coordinate responsibilities among multiple agencies involved in project reviews to ensure "the trains run on time"
  • Providing for concurrent reviews by agencies rather than sequential 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 the environmental review does not devolve into an endless quest to evaluate infeasible alternatives
  • Creating a searchable, online "dashboard" to track the status of projects during the environmental review and permitting process
  • Reducing the statute of limitations to challenge a project review from six years to two years
  • Requiring courts, when addressing requests for injunctions to stop covered projects, to consider the potential negative impacts on job creation if the injunction is granted
NRCA wishes to commend the congressional sponsors of this bipartisan legislation for their leadership on an important issue of concern to the roofing industry. The House sponsors were Reps. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and the Senate sponsors were Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

NRCA will continue working to advance regulatory reform initiatives that reduce or eliminate regulatory burdens, resulting in improved economic growth and job creation.

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