"Marking the 40th anniversary of the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA), the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), has
issued three draft guidance documents in a campaign to 'reinvigorate' the
workings of the Act," report Svend Brandt-Erichsen and Dustin Till of Marten
Law PLLC in this Emerging Issues Analysis. "The new guidance, issued in draft
for public comment, directs how federal agencies are to:
guidance, long anticipated and hotly contested, has garnered most of the attention
so far, and for good reason", explain the authors. "By requiring the
consideration of climate change impacts in agency decision-making, it requires
federal agencies to get into the business of using evolving and controversial
scientific evidence to assess hundreds of public and private projects,
including energy infrastructure, highways and ports, and landfills.
"Among the states
- several of which have 'substantive' mini-NEPA statutes - it could require
mitigation of those still uncertain impacts. Though less headline grabbing, the
other two guidance documents are nearly as potentially far-reaching and will
also change the way in which environmental review of federal actions are
article focuses on the GHG guidance document. Subsequent articles will discuss
the mitigation and categorical exclusion guidance documents. Public comments on
the proposed GHG and mitigation guidance documents will be accepted for 90 days
after they are printed in the Federal Register, and comments on the categorical
exclusion guidance will be accepted for 45 days.
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