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ACEC News / Advocacy

March 11, 2020

Council Advises Administration on Proposed NEPA Reforms

By Matt Reiffer

ACEC submitted supportive comments and extensive technical feedback this week on changes to the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) proposed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 

The rulemaking is intended to modernize and clarify agency practices to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews.  It is the first major rewrite of the regulations in over 40 years and has drawn significant attention from lawmakers and the public.

ACEC said it welcomes the proposed changes to NEPA implementing regulations that would enhance the project delivery process for member firm clients and the taxpayers they serve.  “These proposed framework processes combined with more concise, readable and more widely available project documents enhance transparent decision-making and public participation in actions taken by the federal government,” the Council wrote in its comment letter.  “However, all changes in NEPA implementation should be carefully considered to generate efficiencies and improved outcomes without undermining the core mandates of the statute.”

Based on feedback from a working group of expert practitioners from member firms, ACEC provided specific input on a number of provisions, including the expanded use of categorical exclusions, development of purpose and need statements and alternatives analysis, mitigation requirements, and exhaustion and judicial review standards.  The Council proposed modifications for improving and clarifying the sections on threshold applicability analysis and the revised definition of which projects are covered under NEPA; research and data collection; and, evaluating the cumulative effects of large scale or unique projects.

Click here to read the ACEC comment letter.

Click here for the business coalition website in support of NEPA reform.

Matt Reiffer is ACEC’s Vice President Transportation Programs.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.


March 11, 2020



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