Earlier this week, the Council on Environmental Quality promulgated its Phase I rule amending the NEPA regulations. The final rule largely implements the proposed rule, though with some minor changes. Since the final rule so closely tracks the proposal, I won’t repeat the analysis that I already provided regarding these changes.
I will briefly repeat my concern that Phase II of the NEPA regulations is going to be very important. Nothing in the Phase I regulations addresses the need to improve siting reviews to ensure that NEPA remains an effective shield to protect those impacted by projects without becoming a sword that allows well-funded opponents to utilize NEPA to delay or kill projects that are against those opponents’ self-interest.
If we can’t site renewable energy projects or the transmission infrastructure necessary to get renewable energy to customers, we’re not going to meet our climate goals.