The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) supports the White House’s first round of revisions to the rules for reviewing the environmental impacts of federal actions or projects, which were finalized today.
The revisions reverse some of the most damaging changes the Trump administration made in 2020 to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for assessing the environmental effects of proposed projects and their alternatives.
NEPA rules apply to wide variety federal decisions, from permitting construction of roads and pipelines to land use plans and environmental restoration activities. NEPA was enacted in 1970 to ensure the federal government and affected communities have the information they need to make sound decisions about how to proceed with a proposed project.
The Biden administration changes restore the requirement that federal agencies consider all relevant environmental impacts of a project, including potential consequences of accelerating climate change and its effects, and further polluting communities already overburdened by dirty air or water.
They also reestablish that NEPA requirements are the floor, rather than the ceiling, for environmental review standards federal agencies must meet.
The White House is expected to propose broader changes to the NEPA rules in its next round of revisions this summer.
CBF Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko released the following statement:
“CBF appreciates this rule reversing the worst of the Trump administration’s destructive changes to the environmental review process.
“This is a welcome first step towards protecting the Bay watershed from further damage caused by climate change and empowering our region’s under-resourced communities to pursue the environmental justice they deserve.
“CBF looks forward to working with the White House on a more robust second rule that strengthens the climate change and environmental justice review requirements reinstated today.”