A new bulletin prepared by WSP USA provides an overview and insights on critical changes recently made to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
This five-page white paper, “Summary of Changes to the National Environmental Policy Act as Amended by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023,” WSP’s leaders in environmental process and policy examine and summarize changes made to NEPA by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA).
The FRA includes the most substantive changes to NEPA in decades, while also codifying certain elements of existing NEPA regulations and practice. These changes have implications for all industry sectors as federal agencies move to modify how they conduct environmental permitting and reviews.
The FRA statutory provisions include NEPA threshold criteria that direct under what circumstances NEPA applies to agency action; the codification of language on the scope of environmental reviews; and the codification of language for alternatives to be carried forward for study, as well as the use of reliable data and resources.
The FRA also directs how federal agencies should agree to lead agency status or invite state, tribal or local agencies for joint lead agency status; codifies the goal of developing a single federal environmental document to direct lead and cooperating agencies in permit evaluations in the environmental review process; and details timelines and page limits for environmental impact statements and environmental assessments.
Programmatic environmental reviews, shared categorical exclusions between agencies, and updated guidance for online and digital technologies and energy sector-specific elements also are discussed.
These new FRA provisions are expected to be implemented under new rules developed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and other federal agencies and entities.
Read the complete white paper here.
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