Congressman Jeff Denham is hoping to speed up the environmental process for federally funded projects in the region.
Currently projects have to go through a separate review process for NEPA, the National Environmental Protection Act, and CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act. Denham’s bill HR 1604 would allow the federal requirements of NEPA to be satisfied with the completion of CEQA.
Notably, he says it could put additional water storage projects on the fast track, which would help Central Valley farmers. “It certainly is our focus to get new water storage built, but it could go for any type of new project,” says Denham. “If the President really wants to get High Speed Rail done, why have the cost and time delay of going through the CEQA process and then going through the process a second time for NEPA.”
Other co-sponsors of the legislation include Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Rep. Walley Herger, Rep. Kevin McCarthey and Rep. Devin Nunes.