Council on Environmental Quality’s New NEPA Regulations: An Analysis
On September 14, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality’s (“CEQ”) Final Rule overhauling its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) became effective. The Final Rule represents the first comprehensive revision of the NEPA regulations since their initial issuance in 1978, and introduces process-based and substantive changes to the NEPA regulations, codifies existing case law and CEQ guidance, and establishes various measures designed to shorten and streamline the environmental review process. In addition, the new regulations narrow the scope of environmental review by limiting the extent to which indirect and cumulative impacts must be addressed, encouraging means to avoid review, and limiting the scope of the alternatives analysis. They also place procedural hurdles on parties that wish to challenge an agency’s course of action under NEPA.
Read our analysis of the new regulations and their possible implications for future environmental impact review HERE.