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White House’s Council on Environmental Quality Issues Final Guidance on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Consideration under NEPA

The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the federal entity with responsibility for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) issued final guidance for federal agencies and departments on “Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in [NEPA] Reviews” (Guidance).
The Guidance characterizes climate change as a “fundamental environmental issue,” making it appropriate for inclusion in review of federal agency action under NEPA. The purpose of the Guidance, according to CEQ, is “•…to provide for greater clarity and more consistency in how agencies address climate change in the environmental impact assessment process.”
As to its general charge to federal agencies conducting NEPA analyses, the Guidance states “Consistent with NEPA, Federal agencies should consider the extent to which a proposed action and its reasonable alternatives would contribute to climate change, through [GHG] emissions, and take into account the ways in which a changing climate may impact the proposed action and any alternative actions, change the action’s environmental effects over the lifetime of those effects, and alter the overall environmental implications of such actions.”
The Guidance states explicitly that it is not a “rule” or “regulation,” and its “recommendations” may be inapplicable to any given project, “based on individual facts and circumstances.” Further, CEQ does not expect that agencies’ implementation of the Guidance to require new NEPA implementing procedures by the respective agency.
The Guidance is available directly from CEQ at:
(David Smith, Kristin Garcia)