National Environmental Policy Act

News & Analysis as of

US FWS Announces Record of Decision Streamlining Wind Energy Permitting for the Upper Great Plains

On July 7, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). This is the final step in a process...more

The Dusky Gopher Frog Causes Big Problems for Industrial and Commercial Development in Parts of St. Tammany Parish

In 2010, under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“the FWS”) designated 6,477 acres in Mississippi and Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the Rana sevosa or the dusky gopher...more

DC Circuit Judge Rogers Delivers 3 Important Administrative Rulings in 1 Day

July 15 was a busy day at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as five important decisions werethree issued. What was remarkable and worth noting is that Judge Judith Rogers, a member of the court...more

Bureau to Take Closer Look at Offshore Wind Project

On July 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Hopper, Acting Director of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, reviewed the District Court’s dismissal...more

LNG Global Impacts Not FERC’s Problem in Freeport and Sabine Pass Cases

In companion cases, on June 28 the DC Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in its environmental impacts analysis of two Gulf Coast LNG terminals, need not assess the potential for...more

DC Circuit Denies Petitions to Review Non-Export-Related Environmental Consequences of FERC Action

Two recently issued decisions are important because they clarify how the formidably complex legal structure affecting a growing American business—the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) –will be interpreted by the one...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s NEPA Analysis in Sabine Pass and Freeport LNG Projects

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected two related challenges to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental review of the Sabine Pass LNG and Freeport LNG...more

Federal Court Upholds FERC’s Approach on LNG Environmental Permitting and Shifts Focus to Challenges to DOE’s Environmental Review

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued two opinions that uphold the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) approach to reviewing environmental impacts of liquefied...more

Comments on New Rules for Bald and Golden Eagle Protection due July 5, 2016

On May 6 of this year, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a proposed rule revising the permitting program under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (the Act). Public comments on the rule are due...more

Changed Dam Operations Not Subject to an Environmental Impact Statement Under NEPA

On June 21, 2016, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision of the Bonneville Power Administration to proceed with a change in the operation of the Albeni Falls Dam during the winter...more

US FWS Releases Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan

On April 15, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued its Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) proposing a regional approach to...more

USFWS Proposes (Again) To Issue 30-Year Eagle Act Permits

On May 6, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published a proposed rule that would amend various aspects of its permitting program under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Act”). As widely...more

NEPA Does Not Require An Agency To Guarantee Project Compliance with Environmental Laws

In an interesting decision last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to BLM’s decision to issue a right-of-way permit for Tule Wind’s plan for a wind farm southeast of San Diego. It’s not exactly...more

Ninth Circuit Holds National Indian Gaming Commission Not Required to Conduct NEPA Review Before Approving Casino Gaming Ordinance

In Jamul Action Committee v. Chaudhuri, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the National Indian Gaming Commission (Commission) did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when...more

DC Circuit: NRC Rule Is Not a Licensing Action and Generic EIS Satisfies NEPA

In 2014, the NRC promulgated a “Continued Storage Rule” followed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) issuance of a Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities (NUREG-0586) to...more

US Court of Appeals Affirms District Court Judgment Upholding Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act,...

On June 6, 2016, in Backcountry Against Dumps et al. v. Jewell et al., the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court for the Southern District of California upholding federal...more

House and Senate LNG Provisions Go to Conference

On April 20, the Senate passed a broad-based energy bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012), and set the stage for a conference between House and Senate leaders to compromise on the policy differences between...more

If You Don’t Like Nukes, Petition Congress: The D.C. Circuit Affirms the NRC’s GEIR On Nuclear Waste Storage

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by several states and the NRDC to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the impacts of continued on-site storage...more

Part the Seas: Federal Report Finds Offshore Fracking has No Significant Impact

On May 27, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) jointly released a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (“PEA”) for well stimulation treatment...more

If At First You Do Not Succeed: Fish and Wildlife Service Tries Again With 30-Year Eagle Act Permit

On May 6, 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS or Service) published a proposed rule (Proposed Rule) that would substantially change how the Service administers its conservation and management program under the Bald and...more

Eagle Take Permit Program Revamped – Longer Permits and Clearer Mitigation Requirements

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) recently proposed revisions to its regulations authorizing take of bald and golden eagles. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“BGEPA”) imposes criminal and...more

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Draft 30-Year Programmatic Eagle Take Permit - Longer Permit Terms Welcome, But Certain Proposed...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) on May 6, 2016, issued a draft rule that would extend to 30 years the maximum life of permits authorizing the incidental take of bald and golden eagles pursuant to the federal Bald...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revamp of Eagle Permit Rule – What You Need to Know

On May 6, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (the Proposed Rule) to revise its 2009 rule establishing the requirements for issuance of permits for “non-purposeful take” of bald and...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Changes to Eagle Permit Regulations, Opens 60-Day Comment Period

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of proposed changes to its eagle permitting regulations (Proposed Rule). Concurrent with the Proposed Rule, the Service issued a...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Rule to Revise its Bald and Golden Eagle Regulations

On May 4, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule titled Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests, which seeks to revise the Service’s bald and...more

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