Washington, DC – Earlier today, as first reported by The Washington Examiner, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) introduced the UNSHACKLE Act (Undoing NEPA’s Substantial Harm by Advancing Concepts that Kickstart the Liberation of the Economy Act) in the House of Representatives, a bill that combines five standalone NEPA-related pieces of legislation aimed at maintaining the previous Administration’s much-needed NEPA revisions.

Following the introduction of this bill, Rep. Cheney issued the following statement: 

“In Wyoming and across the country, we have seen special interest groups use a variety of tactics to weaponize the NEPA process to cause delay and add significant costs to energy and infrastructure projects. The last Administration made critical revisions to streamline these projects to prevent them from being unnecessarily blocked by bureaucratic red tape. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration intends to empower federal agencies at the expense of state and local stakeholders who will face new challenges because of burdensome mandates that will take effect.

“To combat these dangerous policies, the legislation introduced today would reform the NEPA process so federal agencies, and state and local governments are empowered to carry out the Act’s original goal in a timely and cost-effective manner, which was the purpose of last year’s CEQ NEPA Rule. Permanently codifying that rule into law and enacting these other key reforms are an essential step to ensure that state and local leaders have the decision-making authority they deserve to move forward with important projects that are critical to our state and the nation’s economic activity.” 

BACKGROUND 

The text of the UNSHACKLE Act can be read here

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has introduced the UNSHACKLE Act, which includes the same five companion bills, in the Senate. 

In addition to being included in the UNSHACKLE Act, Rep. Cheney introduced the NEPA Legal Reform Act, which clarifies requirements necessary to receive judicial review for NEPA-related claims and sets a 150-day statute of limitations for NEPA-related claims, as a stand-alone bill in the House as well. The text of this legislation can be read here

On top of this legislation, Rep. Cheney introduced the Recognition of Local Interests in NEPA Decision Making Act earlier this Congress, and she also introduced this bill during the last Congress as well. That proposal would provide that any proceeding for judicial review on the basis of compliance with NEPA can only be brought in the state where the action is proposed or permitted to take place, or in Washington D.C.