Federal Spotlight: Biden Administration Announces Reinstatement of Stricter Environmental Rules for Permitting of Projects

April 22, 2022

A final rule issued by the White House Council on Environmental Quality targets three areas of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and aims to restore certain provisions that were changed in 2020 under former President Donald Trump. The Trump Administration had said the goal with those changes was to “modernize its regulations to streamline the development of infrastructure projects.”

According to the Council on Environmental Quality, the final rule: “(1) restores the requirement that federal agencies evaluate all the relevant environmental impacts of the decision they are making; (2) restores the full authority of agencies to work with communities to develop and analyze alternative approaches that could minimize environmental and public health costs; and (3) establishes the Council on Environmental Quality’s NEPA regulations as a floor, rather than a ceiling, for the environmental review standards that federal agencies should be meeting.”

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement, in part, that this announcement “misses the larger point that we need to be pursuing a clear strategy to harness every possible source of energy here in the United States.” The NAM is a federal partner of ABI.

“Even though the administration kept many of the reforms the NAM had fought for, this does not provide the predictability and streamlined permitting we need,” Timmons added. “And if the next step in this process is derailed by unrealistic agendas, then America will feel the pain of a weaker economy, diminished national security and slower implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” 

Learn more from the White House’s press release and find the final rule here.