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NECA Legislative Top Three 7/17/20: NECA-Supported NEPA Update Will Reduce Project Delays

Jul 17, 2020

1. NEPA Updated to Reduce Red Tape 


The White House Council on Environmental Quality released a final rule to comprehensively update its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations for the first time in over 40 years. NEPA regulations govern through which federal agencies assess the environmental impact of a multitude of actions, including construction projects. This revision to longstanding regulations is anticipated to expedite the review process and reduce delays on jobsite construction. 


NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA has long advocated for responsible reforms to the NEPA regulations and is optimistic that these changes will bring about less red tape and unnecessary delays on groundbreaking for new jobsites. We thank the administration for this much needed reform and leadership. 


2. New Guidance Released for the Main Street Lending Program 


On July, 15, 2020, the Federal Reserve released updated guidance for the Main Street Lending Program. 


NECA’s Look Ahead: The new guidance frequently asked questions contains the following changes: 


  • Announcing a waiver of CARES Act capital distribution restrictions with respect to tribal businesses paying dividends to tribal governments (FAQs H.15, H.2) and otherwise clarifying the tribal business concern definition (FAQ E.2); 

  • Incorporating recent changes made by the Small Business Administration to its Ineligible Business definition in relation to the Paycheck Protection Program (FAQ E.1) and otherwise clarifying the application of the Ineligible Business definition (FAQ E.13); 

  • Removing the “purchase by” requirement with respect to MSELF Upsized Tranches (FAQ D.4);  

  • Providing guidance regarding a number of issues – specifically,  

  • The inclusion of fees in the principal amount of loan (FAQ G.18),  

  • LIBOR floors (FAQ G.19),  

  • Financial requirements for businesses established in 2020 (FAQ G.20),  

  • Fiscal year 2019 financial data (FAQ H.10),  

  • The use of proceeds under Main Street loans (FAQ G.21),  

  • The eligibility of sole proprietorships (FAQ E.14), and  

  • Hedging credit and interest rate risk (FAQ G.26);  

  • Providing clarity on Portal information security measures (FAQ L.10);  

  • Providing links to example legal documents completed for a hypothetical company (FAQ M.5); and  

  • Clarifying the mortgage debt exception for the MSPLF and MSELF (FAQs C.5 and D.11). 


3. Tell Your Representatives NECA’s Requests in Phase IV Legislation 


Congress returns to Washington next week and the Senate is expected to release their proposal for the next COVID-19 relief bill. We are optimistic that many NECA-supported provisions will be included in the final legislation. NECA encourages its members to take action and voice our industry’s needs to Congress. NECA remains focused on advocating for our electrical contractors throughout this period to ensure our members’ voices are heard.