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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT proposes page limit for environmental review documents

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao
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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is seeking public opinion on two "interim" policies: One calls for limit the number of pages in environmental impact statements (EIS) and the other would coordinate federal reviews for infrastructure projects under the "One Federal Decision" executive order with the goal of completing environmental review within two years.
According to notice published Aug. 23 in the Federal Register, the USDOT is proposing to limit the text of draft and final EIS to 150 pages, but recommends that such statements not exceed 75 pages.

The department is proposing the rule because lengthy EIS documents, "containing extraneous detail and needless data," have added to the costs and time necessary to complete the environmental review process, according to the notice.

Meanwhile, the department is proposing a rule stemming from an executive order signed two years ago that mandated federal agencies to use a "One Federal Decision" process for major infrastructure projects, or those that require authorizations by multiple federal agencies. The proposed rule calls for the environmental review be coordinated by one lead federal agency.

The order establishes the goal of completing the review of such projects to two years. In addition, all federal authorization decisions should be completed within 90 days of the record of decision.

Comments on the proposed rules are due Sept. 23.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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