On July 28, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a proposed rule (publishing July 31) that would fully implement and build upon new permitting efficiencies directed by Congress under the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. The White House says CEQ’s Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule would modernize and accelerate environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), encourage early community engagement, accelerate America’s clean energy future, strengthen energy security and advance environmental justice.
CEQ has already clarified and restored basic safeguards for environmental reviews and issued guidance to agencies on how to account for climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, so fewer projects get tangled up in litigation and more projects get built right the first time, according to the White House.
“Today’s Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation proposed rule will help speed permitting timelines for solar and transmission projects on federal lands that are critical for strengthening American energy security and tackling climate change. We are glad to see the White House prioritize environmental justice and community engagement in NEPA reviews, as well as setting clear review deadlines that will keep projects moving forward in a timely manner,” said Sean Gallagher, senior VP of policy for SEIA, in a press statement.
“This is an important step in our national effort to decarbonize the economy while ensuring reliable, low-cost power, and we look forward to further collaboration with the administration to achieve our shared clean energy vision,” he continued.
The White House says these reforms will continue to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy for ensuring that federal environmental reviews and permitting processes are effective, efficient and transparent, guided by the best available science to promote positive environmental and community outcomes and shaped by early and meaningful public engagement and input.
“These reforms to federal environmental reviews will deliver better decisions, faster permitting, and more community input and local buy-in,” said Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “This rule is a key element of President Biden’s permitting reform agenda that will help us speed the build-out of our clean energy future while reducing pollution and harms in communities that have been left out and left behind for far too long.”
News item from the White House