By Mark Mazzola
The federal Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently finalized new rules for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which became effective on September 14, 2020. This was the first major revision to NEPA in over 40 years. The impetus for the updated rules is to streamline the NEPA process, which is often subject to delays from lengthy decision-making processes and litigation. The CEQ found that it takes an average of 4.5 years to complete a NEPA environmental impact statement (EIS) process, from a notice of intent to the issuance of a record of decision, with many projects taking over 10 years to complete their EIS process. The new regulations are meant to clarify and codify what is already required by NEPA, its implementing regulations, guidance, and case law (Venable 2020a).
Following is a summary of the major changes to NEPA made by the new rules. The discussion is taken primar... (more)