On December 7, 2011, as part of the Obama Administration’s effort to improve regulatory procedures, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released draft Guidance to improve efficiency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The draft Guidance is open for public comment until January 27, 2012. The NEPA process can be time consuming and lead to litigation challenging federal permits for private projects. This release provides an opportunity to go on record with comments on how the NEPA process could be improved, particularly as it impacts private actions.
Enacted in 1969, NEPA recognizes that many federal activities, including issuing permits, leases or other approvals to private parties, affect the environment and requires federal agencies to consider the potential environmental impacts of their action, and any reasonable alternatives, before deciding whether and in what manner to take an action. The law has implementing regulations issued by the CEQ, and over the decades, CEQ has from time to time issued Guidance on implementing NEPA.
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