Fred Wagner was quoted on June 19, 2018, in E&E News in an article about how the White House has taken the first official steps toward rewriting regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Last Friday, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) submitted an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on NEPA to the Federal Register, which includes 20 questions about the regulations that will be the focus after their publication of a 30-day public comment period. The questions offer a look into the direction the Trump administration might try to go with the NEPA changes. Environmentalists are already saying a month long comment period is too short.
Mr. Wagner said an extended comment period would make sense given the breadth of CEQ's proposal. While he had expected CEQ to try streamlining ideas from previous guidance documents and laws, Wagner said, the proposal asks sweeping questions, including whether some of the most litigated terms in the regulations "major federal action," "cumulative impact" and "significantly," among others should be redefined.
Wagner noted, "It will make the comment period and the back-and-forth between the public and the agency more challenging. In other words, they have not shied away from the controversial elements of the NEPA regulations."