NEPA Environmental Review Requirements – More Information

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History

On February 18, 2010 the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed guidance to agencies for considering greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in NEPA reviews.

In December, 2014 CEQ updated its proposal for climate change NEPA guidance.

On August 1, 2016 CEQ finalized Guidance on the Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in NEPA Reviews.

Trump Era­ 

White House, CEQ, and Multi-Agency Actions 

On March 28, 2017 President Trump signed Executive Order 13783 on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth which directed CEQ to rescind final guidance issued on August 1, 2016 on the Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in NEPA Reviews.

On August 15, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13807 that shortened the time for environmental reviews of large federally-funded infrastructure projects. This order also revoked President Obama’s Executive Order 13690, which had required federal agencies to consider sea level rise and flood projections when considering agency actions, including federal funding of infrastructure. This order established the “One Federal Decision” approach to NEPA reviews for major infrastructure projects, requiring each project to have a single lead agency for the environmental review process. The order instructed CEQ and OMB to develop a framework for this implementing the One Federal Decision and directed CEQ to develop an initial list of actions it plans to take to revise the environmental review process within 30 days. This order also kicked off actions within agencies to review and revise their NEPA process with regard to infrastructure projects.

On September 14, 2017, CEQ published its initial action list for revising the NEPA process as required by EO 13807.

On February 12, 2018, President Trump released the Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America. The President’s plan calls on the White House Council on Environmental Quality to rewrite its NEPA regulations, which would have a significant impact on all agencies’ NEPA processes. President Trump’s plan proposes designating one lead agency for each NEPA review, rather than the current approach that requires independent review of the action from each relevant agency. This would mean that expert agencies, such as public health and environmental agencies, would not have meaningful input in the environmental review process. The proposal also limits the allowable time for environmental review and decreases the period of time in which a lawsuit may be filed challenging a NEPA review. Additionally, the proposal would limit the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to oppose projects based on expected increases in air pollution.

On April 9, 2018, the MOU Implementing One Federal Decision Under Executive Order 13807 was signed by 12 federal agencies and councils.

On June 20, 2018, CEQ issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update its NEPA implementing regulations. CEQ solicits comments on 20 broad questions regarding the NEPA process and scope of NEPA review and asks for specific recommendations for changes to the regulations. The comment period closed July 20, 2018.

On July 11th, CEQ extended the comment period through August 20, 2018.

Click the links below for Agency-specific NEPA updates

Department of Interior

USDA – Forest Service

Department of Homeland Security

Federal Communications Commission

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

 

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