Photo of a pond under cloudy skies, with geese in the pond.
Massapequa Pond Taken before a spring evening rain. © Michael Casalotti/TNC Photo Contest 2021

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Administration Proposes Restoration of NEPA Guidelines

Will restore full consideration of direct, indirect and cumulative impacts

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced today it is planning to restore several critical components of federal reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The proposed provisions would restore longstanding and critical safeguards rescinded last year under the previous administration. Federal agencies would be required to evaluate all the potential environmental impacts – direct, indirect and cumulative – of a planned federal project. These reviews cover projects ranging from new pipelines and roads and will now prioritize impacts of climate change and environmental justice.

The provisions would also restore authority for federal agencies to work with local communities to determine the “purpose and need” and to fully consider alternatives to potential projects to minimize their environmental and health effects. Finally, the proposed revisions would affirm once again that CEQ’s NEPA regulations serve as the floor for federal agencies’ environmental reviews, allowing agencies to adapt and strengthen their own review procedures under NEPA as needed. 

We commend the administration for moving to restore these safeguards for our communities and our planet.

Lynn Scarlett Chief External Affairs Officer for The Nature Conservancy

The following is a statement by Lynn Scarlett, Chief External Affairs Officer at The Nature Conservancy:

“Today’s announcement is another welcome step toward restoring the integrity of federal environmental reviews. For over five decades, the National Environmental Policy Act has been a critical safeguard for communities and nature. It ensures that, before a single shovel is put into the ground, we carefully consider the potential environmental and social impacts of a project. This helps these projects succeed, ensures communities have a voice in the process and minimizes the effects on ecosystems.

“The guidelines restoring consideration of the full breadth of impacts from a project are especially important to address climate change. Comprehensive analysis of a project’s impacts will help ensure that we're making the best decisions and not unintentionally hampering our response to climate change. We commend the administration for moving to restore these safeguards for our communities and our planet. We look forward to working with the administration to further improve upon the federal environmental review process.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.