Friends of the Earth Responds to Proposed Revamp of National Environmental Policy ActThe Biden Administration’s New Draft Rule is Overall a Positive Step Forward, But Could Backtrack Some Progress on Environmental Protection
WASHINGTON – The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed a set of regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the country’s premier federal environmental protection law. Congress enacted NEPA in 1970 to ensure that federal agencies analyze the potential environmental and socio-economic harms of federal projects before they take place.
Hallie Templeton, Legal Director for Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement:
We applaud CEQ for finally moving to formalize the federal government’s assessment of environmental justice and climate change impacts, which our judicial system has long called for. Studying these impacts is key to our country’s ability to meaningfully and expeditiously respond to the climate crisis and protect everyone who depends on a healthy planet to survive.
However, we are disappointed that the rule’s language attempts to create additional flexibility for NEPA work-arounds, loopholes, and exceptions. We strongly urge CEQ to rethink these pitfalls, which could undermine the strength and significance of our bedrock environmental law and everything it protects.
Today’s proposal is the second iteration in the agency’s two-phase approach to reinstating unlawful rollbacks initiated by the Trump Administration. CEQ’s reinstatement came amid a 2020 lawsuit filed by a coalition of 20 organizations, including Friends of the Earth. In the final hour, as the second-phase reinstatement was set to be published, Congress legislated problematic changes to NEPA, which CEQ opted to incorporate into its proposal.
Communications contact: Brittany Miller, [email protected], (202) 222-0746