Trump Administration Proposes Changes to NEPA

On Thursday, President Trump unveiled his administration’s proposal to change regulations stemming from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). One of the major impacts of NEPA was to require environmental review before undertaking projects and actions that could impact the environment. This proposal came just days after the 50th anniversary of the signing of NEPA by President Nixon on January 1, 1970.

The President introduced the proposal at the White House. He framed it as action that would “slash job-killing regulations and improve the quality of life for all our citizens.” He went on to say that the critical infrastructure projects are being slowed down by the burdensome approval process required by existing regulations. He billed it as strong regulation that would move very quickly. The new regulations are being billed as the “One Federal Decision” policy, which will require agency cooperation to come together to issue a single decision rather than moving through separate departments and agencies each issuing separate decisions. The new regulations also look to have agencies take more information from state, local, and tribal governments, rather than having the federal government gather information on its own.

This action has been in process since the President issued Executive Order 13807 back in 2017 directing the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to develop new regulations to implement this one federal decision policy. The CEQ will be holding two public hearings in February in relation to the proposed regulations. Comments on the proposed regulations will be due by March 10, 2020.

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