The Council on Environmental Quality Proposes National Environmental Policy Act Regulation Changes to Streamline Review Process

On January 10, 2020, The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a proposed rule to significantly revise its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These regulations have not been comprehensively revised since they were promulgated in 1978. Over the more than four decades since then, federal agencies have undertaken thousands of NEPA environmental reviews, resulting in hundreds of court decisions, including 17 Supreme Court decisions. As a result, NEPA has become increasingly complex. The proposed rule seeks to reverse this trend and reduce the time and complexity of NEPA reviews and potentially narrow judicial review. These regulations, if finalized, are likely to draw significant litigation. There are at least five proposed provisions that are likely to attract the most controversy.

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