Beth Ginsberg and Max Yoklic Look at Changes Proposed by the Trump Administration to the National Environmental Policy Act


Environmental attorneys Beth Ginsberg and Max Yoklic contributed an article to POWER magazine titled “Trump’s Attempt to Bring Sanity to a Torturous Environmental Review and Permitting Process,” published March 1, 2020. In the article, the authors discuss changes proposed by the Council on Environmental Quality to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.

The modifications, which are intended to streamline the approval process for energy development and other infrastructure projects, would, among other changes:

  • Significantly reduce the time it takes to publish an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
  • Modify the definition of the “effects” of an agency action with regard to the scope of NEPA review, eliminating the need to consider indirect and cumulative effects.
  • Place page and time limits on NEPA review documents, which for an EIS with appendixes have averaged more than 1,000 pages.

According to Ginsberg and Yoklic: “Project antagonists, and agencies opposed to energy and other infrastructure projects, have abused the regulations as a red-tape weapon against project developments. … The welcome changes attempt to reign in agencies conducting far-reaching NEPA review beyond their “limited jurisdiction” and refocus agencies on analysis that informs site-specific decisions.”

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