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Republican Senators Submit Comments on CEQ’s Draft Guidance Under NEPA


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, led Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in a letter to Christy Goldfuss, managing director for the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)  submitting comments on draft guidance from the CEQ on considering climate change under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  In the comments submitted, Senators listed 12 concerns for why the rule should be withdrawn:

“We are deeply disappointed that the administration is continuing down a path that is both illegitimate and irresponsible.  For the reasons set forth below, we once again urge you to withdraw this draft guidance.  Failure to do so will paralyze agency action, including actions needed to create jobs and grow our economy, by requiring endless and meaningless analyses and creating new opportunities for litigation to delay and block important projects,” the Senators said in the letter. 

NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the impact of federal actions on the quality of the human environment.  In 2010, CEQ issued a draft guidance that many Senators asked to be withdrawn.  In December 2014, CEQ issued a revised draft guidance that goes even further, by including land management actions.  This new draft guidance would apply to all federal projects, permits, and land management activities including highways, oil and gas exploration, and any project requiring a 404 permit.  The CEQ guidance directs agencies to include climate change in NEPA analyses, using greenhouse gases (GHG) as a surrogate while considering all upstream and downstream impacts, no matter how remote.  The draft guidance creates the potential for citizen activists to stall or stop projects.