On June 7, 2023, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register seeking input on its planned Ocean Justice Strategy (the “Strategy”). The RFI describes the Strategy as an effort to integrate environmental justice principles into ocean-related activities of the federal government. The Strategy could have wide-ranging impacts on the development of ocean energy resources.
The Biden administration has recently reinforced the President’s environmental justice (EJ) agenda through two actions. Stakeholders who engage with the federal government should be aware of how the administration is expanding these efforts, which inform the government’s enforcement actions and review of projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
On Monday, January 30, 2023, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Phase 2 of its proposal to revise the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing rules released under the prior administration. Litigation surrounding the prior administration’s rules is stayed pending CEQ’s ongoing efforts. OMB review is a necessary prerequisite before CEQ can publish any new rule in the Federal Register and follows release of Phase 1 of CEQ’s implementing rules last April, which the administration described as restoring pre-2020 requirements for agencies to assess direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of proposed actions under NEPA.
Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) projects are gaining momentum as an important pathway to achieving both private- and public-sector climate targets. This trend is expected to accelerate with recently authorized federal funding and administration announcements. At the same time, the value proposition for CCUS may be subject to change based on government policy priorities, permitting processes, and potential permanence challenges, among other factors. So what lies ahead for carbon capture? (more…)
On June 21, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia dismissed a lawsuit by environmental groups challenging a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) July 2020 rule changing how agencies undertake National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. Filed in June 2020, Wild Virginia et al. v. Council on Environmental Quality et al. alleged that CEQ’s rule violated NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and asked that the rule be vacated. Because other federal agencies have not yet drafted the procedures implementing the rule and might never do so under the Biden administration, the court concluded that the challenge was not ripe.
On May 13, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC or the Council) voted and agreed on recommendations to advance the Biden administration’s environmental justice (EJ) agenda. Housed within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the WHEJAC was established by Executive Order (EO) 14008 to recommend to the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council how to address current and historic EJ issues.
WHEJAC adopted recommendations of the three working groups: the Justice40 Initiative (Justice40), EO 12898, and Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.
On Tuesday, April 13, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) rescinded a January 8, 2021, Trump administration rule that established guidance document procedures, procedures for the public to request withdrawal or modification of a guidance document, and procedures for significant guidance documents. (more…)