ILTA Monthly Newsletter

White House Proposes to Modernize NEPA

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The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on January 9 announced a proposed rule to modernize the regulations that implement the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. These regulations were originally published in 1978, but CEQ has made only one limited, substantive update to them in 1986. NEPA requires that major federal actions that could have a significant impact on the environment undergo a review process that analyzes those effects and project alternatives. The proposed rule seeks to reduce unnecessary paperwork and delays and promote improved decision-making.

Key provisions of the new NEPA include:

  • Modernizing, Simplifying and Accelerating the NEPA Process – including presumptive time limits of two years for completion of environmental impact statements (EISs) and one year for completion of environmental assessments, presumptive page limits, improved processes and the use of modern information technologies;
  • Clarify Terms, Application and Scope of NEPA Review – including threshold consideration of whether NEPA applies to an action, requiring specific and timely comments, simplifying the definition of environmental “effects,” clarifying that “reasonable alternatives” must be technically and economically feasible;
  • Enhanced Coordination with States, Tribes and Localities – such as reducing duplication by facilitating the use of documents required by other statutes or prepared by State, Tribal and local agencies, as well as appropriate consultation with affected Tribal governments and agencies; and
  • Reduce Unnecessary Burdens and Delays – facilitate efficient review mechanisms such as categorical exclusions (CEs) and environmental assessments, allow agencies to adopt other agencies’ CEs, allow more involvement by applicants and their contractors in the preparation of EISs under the supervision of an agency.

ILTA supports actions that will facilitate the appropriate expansion and maintenance of the nation’s critical infrastructure, especially the different modes of transportation (ship, barge, rail, truck and pipeline) production and manufacturing that move to and from the storage hubs for bulk liquids at our member’s terminals.


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