TFI Disappointed in NEPA Regression, Says Permitting Must be Addressed
ARLINGTON, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) this week reacted to the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) final rulemaking reversing 2020 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) updates, saying the new rule will make the already costly and time-consuming process of obtaining required permitting even more burdensome.
“We have a member company who has already spent over a decade and more than $20 million dollars for a mining project that still has not been approved,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “The current fertilizer market has policymakers asking for solutions that will help farmers have an affordable and abundant supply of fertilizer; yet here is a regulation that will do just the opposite. What the administration has done here not only doesn’t help the current market environment, it hurts it.”
A more efficient permitting process is needed to ensure that mining projects critical to the needs of US industry and consumers have a clear path forward towards compliance and approval. Positive steps were made with changes to NEPA in 2020, but those updates have been removed and the permitting process has regressed to the badly ineffective 1978 review process.
“This is not progress, this is regression. It’s more red tape, duplicative regulations, and delays that will cost consumers in the end. We are moving in the wrong direction,” Rosenbusch continued. “Our country has resources, and we should access them responsibly. With this move by CEQ, accessibility and the feasibility of utilizing these minerals is thrown into question and the ones who will pay the price for this shortsighted move are individuals and families already struggling with the rising costs of everyday goods.”
There is bipartisan support in Congress for permitting reform, as evidenced in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021. Current legislation is also aimed squarely at building on that support for broader reform, namely the BUILDER Act.
“TFI strongly supports the BUILDER Act and any other legislative vehicle that can make environmental reviews more efficient, reduce duplicative regulatory burdens, provide clear paths to approvals, and make our country more self-reliant and prosperous,” Rosenbusch concluded. “We also urge the administration to rethink their changes to NEPA and instead pay attention to the broad coalition of stakeholders that have experienced the ineffective process of the previous standard being reinstated by the administration.”
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.