Pratt's Energy Law Report

In this article, the authors discuss the National Environmental Policy Act and explore some of the most important modifications to the law proposed by the Council on Environmental Quality.

Authors: Colette D. Honorable Todd O. Maiden Jennifer A. Smokelin Randa M. Lewis

Earlier this year, the Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) recommending extensive changes to the governing regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).1 In order to expedite the development of federal projects across the country, the CEQ proposes to streamline the environmental review process required under NEPA. Among other modifications, the NPRM accelerates the NEPA timetable, clarifies the scope of NEPA review, and facilitates coordination with NEPA stakeholders.

The proposed revisions to NEPA’s regulatory architecture promise to have wide-ranging effects on the energy, environmental, and infrastructure sectors. Indeed, on January 21, 2020, more than 100 Democratic legislators sent a letter to the CEQ urging the agency to allow for more public input.

This article discusses NEPA, identifies five significant aspects of the proposed modifications, and then provides a more detailed look at some of the proposed changes.

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