The Jan. 10 front-page article about the White House’s proposed environmental rules, “Trump move to accelerate work could harm climate,” listed three National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) examples: “A mining company applying for a permit to drain a wetland to an energy company seeking federal approval to conduct seismic testing offshore or to lay down ice roads to hunt for oil.”

In reality, NEPA impedes many more projects than what the article implies. NEPA affects everything from road construction to renewable energy development. Fixing dams and bridges, protecting communities from wildfires, making forests healthy and providing Americans with Internet access are all hampered by the cumbersome NEPA process.

We absolutely need environmental protections in place. Resource stewardship requires careful consideration of a project’s impact to ensure clean air and clean water are beneficial to everyone. However, NEPA hasn’t been updated in 40 years. It now takes critical projects years longer to get underway, costing the American taxpayer millions and stalling necessary improvements nationwide.

Expediting NEPA was a priority under former president Barack Obama’s MAP-21 initiative, and I applaud this administration for taking steps to update the current law. When it comes to making it easier for Americans to invest in projects central to their communities, we should all be on the same team.

Bruce Westerman, Washington

The writer, a Republican, represents Arkansas’s
4th Congressional District in the House.
He is a licensed forester.