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July 20, 2020

Trump Administration Attempts To Modernize Environmental Permitting

As Connecting the Dots reported back in January, the Trump administration announced steps to modernize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to improve environmental permitting and reduce delays that are hampering the construction of infrastructure projects. That step six months ago kicked off a public comment period and, last week, the administration released its final rule.

According to Reuters, “The final rule doesn’t differ significantly from the draft proposal, which sets a two-year deadline for environmental impact statements and a one-year deadline for less stringent environmental assessments.” According to the White House, the changes will:

  • Improve management of the NEPA process by establishing presumptive time limits of two years for the preparation of environmental impact statements (EISs) and one year for the preparation of environmental assessments (EAs).
  • Expand public involvement and improves coordination with states, tribes, and localities by requiring agencies to provide more information to and solicit input from the public earlier in the process to ensure and facilitate informed decision making by Federal agencies.
  • Ensure meaningful and effective environmental reviews by requiring agencies to consider the affected environment, including reasonably foreseeable environmental trends and planned actions.

Click here to read the full summary of the changes.