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REM: White House permitting rule adds “roadblocks” for fossil fuel projects

The Biden administration’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has completed a rule to streamline the environmental review process – including for energy projects – under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). As part of a deal to increase the US’s debt limit in 2023, Congress mandated changes to NEPA.

The CEQ, part of the White House, said that finalising the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule would implement new efficiencies in agency environmental reviews under NEPA, including setting clear one- and two-year deadlines for agencies to complete environmental reviews.

It also requires a lead agency and setting specific expectations for lead and cooperating agencies, and is meant to create a unified and coordinated federal review process.

Additionally, the rule provides agencies with other new and faster tools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of environmental reviews. Climate change will have to be taken into consideration more than before.