Biden Administration’s Updated Federal Climate Guidance Moving in the Right Direction

In response to the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) release of updated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Climate Guidance, Evergreen Action Chief of Staff Lena Moffitt released the following statement:

“It’s a no-brainer: federal agencies should of course be incorporating a robust assessment of greenhouse gas pollution and climate impacts into their environmental reviews. We’re glad to see the Biden administration’s CEQ underscoring the stakes by urging federal agencies to prioritize climate through its updated NEPA Climate Guidance. This guidance is a considerable improvement upon previous versions, urging federal agencies to assess ‘reasonably foreseeable direct, indirect and cumulative greenhouse gas emissions,’ and repeatedly urging that NEPA should drive substantive decisions, like lowest-GHG alternatives. We’re also interested in seeing innovative approaches that could potentially streamline projects that reduce pollution, like clean energy. 

“At the same time, there is room for improvement and additional policy action from CEQ, and we look forward to providing comments. In particular, the guidance could do more to provide a threshold for determining what is ‘significant,’ and to provide direction to agencies on how to account for uncertainty in life cycle GHG analyses. Most importantly, we are eager to see the Biden administration continue to strengthen the NEPA process, and task agencies with a fulsome consideration of climate pollution in environmental reviews, as part of CEQ’s forthcoming NEPA Phase II rulemaking.”​