Press Release

Biden administration modernizes and strengthens National Environmental Policy Act

Protesters at Global Climate Strike holding a banner with the message "Act now or swim later"

Protesters at Global Climate Strike holding a banner with the message "Act now or swim later"

Ivan Radic , flickr

Giving the public more influence in environmental decisions while fostering better decision-making  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In another bold action showing its commitment to climate resilience and community input, the Biden administration today finalized a refined and improved course of action for how federal agencies should implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the country’s bedrock environmental law. Today’s announcement ensures that the public has a stronger say in decisions that affect their health and the public lands they care about and helps 81 federal agencies make the best possible decisions based in science, while engaging with communities early and often to arrive at the best possible outcomes.   


The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) initiated a two-step rulemaking process. First, in early 2022, it reinstated a trio of foundational provisions rolled back by the previous administration, which, if left undone, would cause irreparable harm to the public, wildlife populations and environmental quality. Second, through this final action, CEQ has finished the job with important updates and improvements to modernize and strengthen NEPA compliance to meet 21st century challenges.    


The Wilderness Society released the following statement in response:  


“The Biden administration has taken bold agency actions this month that collectively show how national public lands can be a part of the climate solution, and NEPA is what ensures the public has a say in those land-management outcomes," said Dan Hartinger, Senior Director of Policy Advocacy and Conservation at The Wilderness Society. “CEQ’s new rule will help ensure that NEPA, a law passed more than 50 years ago, better meets the environmental challenges of today. This rule improves public transparency, ensures climate change is part of government decision-making and keeps communities at the forefront of decisions that affect them.”    


Today's rule, called the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule, ensures, among other things, that NEPA is a bridge to a faster, clean-energy future with more community buy-in at the beginning of project reviews to avoid setbacks later and brings greater certainty and clarity to project sponsors. These changes center transparency, science and meaningful community engagement so that federal agencies can make better, more-informed decisions. For access to the full rule, please find it online here.

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