environmental impact statements
CEQ’s proposal is good, but it could be made even better.
In Monday’s post, I praised the CEQ’s proposed new NEPA regulations. They should streamline the process without compromising protection of the environment or environmental justice. I do have some suggestions for improvement, however, which are detailed below. Beyond my specific suggestions, I also hope that CEQ would view the new NEPA regulations as the beginning …CONTINUE READING
Surveying the legal problems of the biggest NEPA changes in the past fifty years.
On June 5, President Biden signed the debt ceiling bill, which provides the first significant rewrite of NEPA since it was passed over fifty years ago. In a series of blog posts, I’ve explored some of the legal issues raised by the amendments. My goal has been highlighting problem areas rather than providing anything like …CONTINUE READING
Delegating Environmental Reviews to Project Sponsors
One of the most important provisions, of the new NEPA law, § 107(f), allows the lead agency to delegate preparation of environmental reviews to project applicants. There are unsettled questions about when this provision applies and how it interfaces with other parts of NEPA. There are clear conflicts of interest in assigning this role to …CONTINUE READING
The enactment of NEPA 2.0 presents a golden opportunity for the agency.
In the recent debt ceiling law, Congress extensively revamped NEPA, the law governing environmental impact statements. An obscure White House agency, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), will have the first opportunity to shape the interpretation of the new language. Much of the language in the new law is poorly drafted or vague, making CEQ’s …CONTINUE READING
The Debt Ceiling Law Rewrote NEPA. Here’s a map to the new statute.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed over fifty years. It created a new tool for environmental protection, the environmental impact statements, It also created the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued guidelines of implementing NEPA in 1978. Lawyers will need to retool quickly because of recent changes. Here’s a roadmap …CONTINUE READING
The Debt Ceiling Bill was written under intense time pressure. It shows!
Someone asked me how the new bill defines what kinds of projects have enough federal involvement to require an environmental assessment. I thought I knew the answer. But when I looked carefully at the bill’s language, I realized that it actually can’t mean what I thought it did. In fact, it’s so badly written that …CONTINUE READING
Will the permitting sections of the debt ceiling bill undermine environmental reviews?
Prior to the release of the text of the debt ceiling bill Sunday night, press reports had mentioned only a couple of provisions relating to environmental impact statements. It turns out there’s a lot more. The bill would make numerous changes in the statute governing impact statements, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). …CONTINUE READING
Trump tried to keep climate change out of environmental impact statements. Biden was right to scotch that effort.
Yesterday, the White House undid an effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the use of environmental impact statements. The pre-Trump rules had been in effect since 1978. Restoring the 1978 version was the right thing to do. The Trump’s rules arbitrarily limited the scope of the environmental effects that EPA can consider. Their goal …CONTINUE READING
Trump’s NEPA proposal flunks Torts as well as Environmental Science 101.
Last week’s NEPA proposal bars agencies from considering many of the harms their actions will produce, such as climate change. These restrictions profoundly misunderstand the nature of environmental problems and are based on the flimsiest of legal foundations. Specifically, the proposal tells agencies they do not need to consider environmental “effects if they are remote …CONTINUE READING
Trump is proposing big changes to CEQ regs. But they may not matter.
The Trump Administration is trying to gut the current White House rules on environmental impact statements. Some people view this move as a death blow to an important environmental tool. Here’s what Trump is trying to do and why it may not matter as much as people fear. As to what Trump & Co. are …CONTINUE READING