National Environmental Policy Act Improved by New Guidance from White House

Feb 19, 2010

On February 18, 2010, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued new draft guidance documents requiring federal agencies to consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate change when carrying out National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. The guidance documents can be found online here. The Wilderness Society applauded the new guidance and issued the following statement.

Statement of Leslie Jones, The Wilderness Society’s General Counsel

The National Environmental Policy Act is tremendously valuable to all Americans because it provides  opportunities for dialogue and shared vision. We applaud CEQ for issuing draft guidance that will inform and assist in NEPA’s implementation in the 21st century.

Guidance from CEQ related to effects of climate change is long overdue and we commend CEQ’s first steps. Because it is this century’s most pressing environmental issue, climate change must be taken into consideration in the course of all federal agencies’ compliance with NEPA. We urge CEQ to make this guidance applicable to Federal land and resource management actions. Our public lands are emerging as a crucial laboratories and battlefields for climate change in the 21st century, and the public should benefit from the same transparency of effects and enhanced decision-making that NEPA ensures for all other Federal actions.