On January 10, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed amendments to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations.

The changes in the proposed rulemaking process are substantial and numerous, according to Nossman LLP, which authored a report with detailed analysis of some of the key changes. We’ve highlighted three rules we believe may be of particular interest to ACPA contractors:

  • Presumptive Review Timelines for EAs and EISs–Limits to 1 year the time limit for completing an environmental analysis and to 2 years for an environmental impact study. Nossaman notes that there can be a lot of exclusions to these limit though.
  • The Scope of the NEPA Analysis When Federal Agency Control of a Non-Federal Project is Limited–The scope of NEPA analysis typically applies to non-federal highway or pipeline projects that require federal water permits to cross rivers and streams. The new rule would appear to expand on the limitation on reviews, but it’s not clear exactly who the limitations or the implications of expanding those limitations would be.
  • Limitations on Commenting–This would limit comment periods for EAs and IESs to 30 days.

Nossaman says that while the proposed rulemaking process represent the first significant overhaul of CEQ’s NEPA regulations in more than 40 years, the practical impact of the sweeping regulatory changes is far from clear. Click here to read the report, “Will Long-Awaited Changes to NEPA Materially Alter Federal Environmental Reviews?”  

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