WASHINGTON-Good news for Idaho’s farmers and ranchers. President Donald Trump just announced the final rule to rewrite the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the first time in more than 40 years.
"Today's action completely modernizes the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. We are cutting the federal permitting timeline from a staggering 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 21 years, you know the story. Before applicants for infrastructure, permits were forced to spend years and years navigating the labyrinth of federal agencies and every single one had the power to stop a project. If you went to an agency they had the power to stop it," said President Donald Trump.
Projects like new dams, irrigation expansion projects, range improvements, some stopped some killed by the NEPA process.
"We are thrilled," said the Farm Bureau.
That's Russ Hendricks, Governmental Affairs Director of the Idaho Farm Bureau.
"Finally after more than 40 years of NEPA being used as a weapon, the Trump administration has returned it to what its original purpose was. It was really to inform the public and help decision-makers make an informed choice about a project and the effects may be on the environment but also equally important the effects on the local economy," said Hendricks.
Under the old NEPA Ranchers had to undergo reviews for everything from grazing permits, range improvements roads, and even firebreaks. Litigation by environmental groups, along with overzealous agency caution, stalled and threatened livestock producers. Ranchers say the new rules will ease that pressure.