WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., issued a statement Tuesday after introducing “The Recognizing Local Interests in NEPA Decision Making Act,” legislation providing that any proceeding for judicial review on the basis of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act can only be brought in the state where the action is proposed or permitted to take place, or in Washington, D.C.

Currently, according to a news release from Cheney’s office, there is no provision in the rule specifying venue for litigations associated with NEPA.

Some groups use this to their advantage and request judicial review on NEPA actions in venues that are chosen based solely on the probability of receiving favorable decisions. This tactic often results in rulings from courts in other states. Not only has this practice made it so local interests are no longer being fully represented, it has also become exceedingly costly for states as they have to hire out-of-state counsel to defend these cases in judicial districts located in other states.

“NEPA analysis is a required part of the approval process for a large range of permitted activities on federal lands, from grazing leases to oil and gas project proposals,” Cheney said in the statement. “Unfortunately, radical environmental groups are delaying projects that are important to Wyoming and across the country by ‘venue shopping,’ filing NEPA compliance suits in liberal courts to gain favorable decisions. Activist judges, trial lawyers and environmental extremists should not be able to prevent our communities from utilizing local resources as they see fit to create good-paying jobs and improve local economies, and this legislation would stop that practice.”

A number of entities applauded the bill, including: the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Gov. Mark Gordon, the Wyoming Mining Association, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Western Energy Alliance, and Jim Willox, president of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, who wrote a letter in support of the bill.

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