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Title: Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2013
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that limits the time frame of environmental reviews of construction projects.
- Requires a lead agency leading a construction project that requires approval by a permit or regulatory decision to establish a schedule for completion of an environmental review by considering certain factors including, but not limited to, the following factors (Sec. 2):
- The size and complexity of the project;
- The cost of the project; and
- The responsibilities of participating agencies.
- Defines “lead agency” as the federal agency preparing or responsible for preparing the project’s environmental document (Sec. 2).
- Defines “environmental review” as the procedures for preparing an environmental impact statement, environmental assessment, or other document under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (Sec. 2).
- Defines “environmental document” as an environmental assessment or environmental impact statements and includes any supplemental document or document prepared under court order (Sec. 2).
- Requires the lead agency of a project to complete an environmental review for projects requiring preparation of an environmental impact statement within the following deadlines (Sec. 2):
- Within 2 years after the earlier of the date the agency receives a project initiation request or publishes a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environment Impact Statement is published;
- Within 2 years after a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environment Impact Statement if the agency has prepared an environmental assessment and determined that an environmental impact statement will be required.
- Requires the lead agency to issue a finding of no “significant” impact or publish a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement within 1 year after the earlier of the date the agency completes the following (Sec. 2):
- Receives a project initiation request;
- Makes a decision to prepare an environmental assessment, or
- Sends out participating agency invitations.
- Authorizes the lead agency of a project to take any actions necessary to facilitate the “expeditious” resolution of the environmental review for the project (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits an extension of the environmental review deadline without an agreement between the lead agency, the project sponsor, and the participating agencies or without “good cause” (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits an environmental review deadline from being extended by the following (Sec. 2):
- 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.
- Requires a federal agency that is required 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, to act no later than 90 days beginning after the following (Sec. 2).
- After all other relevant agency review related to the project is complete; and
- After the availability of the environmental impact statement or other environmental documents, or no later than such other date that is otherwise required by law, whichever occurs first.
- Specifies that if the federal agency does not act upon a permit, license, or other similar application for approval related to a project, the permit, license, or other similar application shall be deemed approved by such agency (Sec. 2).
- Requires the lead agency to establish a comment period for comments by agencies and the public on a draft environmental impact statement of not more than 60 days after public availability unless a different deadline is established by agreement between the lead agency, the project sponsor, and all participating agencies, or the deadline is extended for “good cause” (Sec. 2).
- Authorizes the lead agency of a project to adopt an environmental document that resulted from an environmental review on a “similar” project in “geographical proximity” that was subject to environmental review within the previous 5 years if the agency determines that there is a “reasonable likelihood” that the project will have “similar” environmental impacts (Sec. 2).
- Authorizes the lead agency of a project to adopt an environmental document that has been prepared for a project under state laws and procedures as the environmental document for the project if the state laws and procedures under which the document was prepared provide environmental protection and opportunities for public involvement that are “substantially equivalent” to those in NEPA (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits the lead agency from using the “social cost of carbon” in any environmental review or environmental decision making process (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits a claim from arising seeking judicial review of a permit, license, or approval issued by a federal agency for an action subject to NEPA unless certain conditions are met including, but not limited to, the claim was filed within 180 days after publication that the permit, license, or approval is final (Sec. 2).
- Requires the head of each federal agency to annually report to Congress on the following items (Sec. 2):
- The projects for which the agency initiated preparation of an environmental document;
- The time it took the agency to complete the environmental review for each project; and
- 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.
- Specifies that the deadline provisions of this bill apply to a project for which an environmental review or environmental decision making process was initiated prior to the date of enactment and shall be calculated as beginning from the date of enactment (Sec. 2).