March 10, 2020 – Today, the Clinic submitted comments on behalf of itself and 15 other environmental law clinics on the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) proposed update to its Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The comments request that CEQ withdraw the proposal because it unlawfully narrows the scope of environmental review, public participation, and judicial review, is inconsistent with decades of precedent and practice, and is beyond the scope of CEQ’s authority under NEPA.
The comments explain how the following aspects of the Proposal are arbitrary and unlawful:
- Implying that the consideration of cumulative impacts and indirect impacts is optional or narrowed in scope;
- Restricting the consideration of alternatives;
- Introducing per-se limitations on what counts as “major Federal action;”
- Expanding the concept of “functional equivalence;”
- Limiting the availability of judicial review of NEPA decisions;
- Making the regulation a “ceiling” that limits other agencies’ NEPA compliance; and
- Stating that agencies do not need to perform new scientific and technical research for NEPA reviews.
Clinical students Maria Dambriunas (JD ’20), Jeremy Dang (JD ’21), and Sarah Douglas (JD ’21) worked on the comments under the supervision of Deputy Director Shaun Goho and Senior Staff Attorney Aladdine Joroff.
Click below to view the comments: