New Draft Guidance Proposed by CEQ Encourages Climate Change Evaluation in Environmental Impact Statements

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on December 19 proposed updated guidance for assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CEQ has responsibility for providing guidance to federal agencies on compliance with NEPA’s environmental assessment requirements.

The new proposed guidance updates CEQ’s 2010 draft guidance on how agencies should assess projects’ GHG impacts. The draft guidance for the first time includes guidance on the so-called “reverse environmental impact” assessment of the impacts of climate change on proposed projects. The draft also details how federal agencies should analyze and mitigate a project’s impact on climate change.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) issued an immediate press release supporting the draft guidance, while Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) signaled Republican opposition to the effort “to increase federal authority beyond NEPA’s original intent and further slow down job-creating projects in this last-ditch effort to appease its far-left environmental base … .” CEQ will accept comments on the proposed guidance until February 23, 2015.

For more information on NEPA’s EIS requirements and how to address climate change issues in them, contact Steve O’Day or Phillip Hoover.


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