GAO Report Confirms What Western Oil and Natural Gas Producers Already Knew: NEPA Delays Prevent Jobs and Economic Growth

April 15, 2014

(Denver) - A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today confirms that National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis is too time consuming, costly, and litigation driven rather than serving the public interest. Time to process NEPA analysis grew over a month each year between 2000 and 2012, and is well above Council of Environmental Quality standards for timeliness.

NEPA analysis was originally designed to enable transparent disclosure of environmental and economic impacts from federal projects so that impacts could be mitigated and better decisions made. The 1970 law was not designed to be a means for unaccountable environmental groups to raise money while stopping social progress.

“The GAO confirmed what western producers have been struggling with for years—long, drawn out NEPA analysis that prevents economic growth and job creation,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs. “NEPA delays to proposed western oil and natural gas projects on public lands are holding up nearly 79,000 jobs and $17.8 billion in annual economic activity.

“Environmental groups use NEPA lawsuits, or just the threat, to hold up projects that provide society with reliable, affordable energy. From projects on public lands in the West to the Keystone XL pipeline, sue-to-stop techniques delay projects for years, denying America economic and job growth. Hopefully this GAO report is a first step to understanding the problem so that it can be fixed.” 

The GAO report is available online.