Council on Environmental Quality issues draft guidance on considering GHGs in environmental impact reviews. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) — the executive agency tasked with promulgating regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) — has issued draft guidance for federal agencies on how to consider GHGs when conducting NEPA-required environmental impact assessments of proposed major federal actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment. This draft guidance replaces an Obama administration document covering the same topic that CEQ rescinded as directed by President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13783 (“Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth”). The new draft guidance instructs agencies that they “need not give greater consideration to potential effects from GHG emissions than to other potential effects on the human environment.” The draft guidance also does not require federal agencies to weigh the effects of any considered alternatives using a monetized “social cost of carbon,” which had been an element of the previous guidance. The draft guidance will be available for public comment for 30 days once it is published in the Federal Register.

John Stewart
Vice President, BlueRibbon Coalition