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On July 16, 2020, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) finalized the first major overhaul of its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) in nearly 40 years. The final amendments are largely consistent with the CEQ’s proposal issued January 10, 2020.
As discussed in our earlier publication, the amendments have the potential to reduce NEPA costs and delays for all energy and infrastructure projects that require federal agency action, including ones for renewable energy. See Trump Administration Plans Overhaul of NEPA Review Process, The Climate Report, First Quarter 2020. For projects involving fossil fuels, the amendments are likely to reduce the extent to which federal agencies consider climate change impacts. Companies with significant interests in projects subject to NEPA should prepare for challenges to the CEQ’s amendments.