The Council for Environmental Quality recently published proposed amendments to update the procedural regulations used to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The proposed amendments were published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2020 and can be found here. The main goal of NEPA is to assure that federal agencies adequately consider the environmental impacts of major federal actions. This is primarily done through the completion of Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements. This review process can be both lengthy and expensive.
The proposed amendments are highly anticipated by industry as they include significant changes that would relax the requirements for how and when the federal government fulfills its role under NEPA. Most notably, the proposal aims to cut down review times, limit the consideration of cumulative environmental impacts (such as climate change), exempt certain projects from full review, and allow some projects to be reviewed by the developer. We will continue to review the proposal and provide updates as it progresses through the rulemaking process.
Comments on the proposed amendments are due by March 10, 2020.