NEPA: Court Denies Injunction; Trump CEQ rules take effect
From our friends at Energywire:
The White House Council on Environmental Quality’s implementing rules f are going into effect as planned today, after opponents of the new regulations failed to convince a federal judge to block them.
On Friday, Judge James Jones for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia declined to issue either a preliminary injunction or a stay to prevent the Trump administration’s National Environmental Policy Act overhaul from taking effect pending his decision on the legality of the regulations.
“The plaintiffs here may ultimately succeed in this case, but at this point they have not made that clear showing,” Jones said in a decision Friday.
The CEQ regulations provide guidance for federal agencies for how they should comply with NEPA, a procedural statute requiring agencies to “look before you leap” by considering impacts of proposed projects such as pipelines, highways and bridges.
The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) had argued on behalf of a coalition of 16 environmental groups that the regulations are inconsistent with the statute.
The revised CEQ rules, finalized in July, curtail the extent to which agencies are instructed to consider indirect and cumulative effects of projects with federal backing. The regulations also put in place tighter timelines and page limits for environmental analyses (Energywire, July 16).
The changes are part of the Trump administration’s push to ease the federal permitting process for industry.