The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) filed a complaint July 29 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia asking that the new regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), issued July 15 by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), be set aside. The SELC filing, made on behalf of a group of conservation organizations that includes 5 ABRA members, charges that CEQ “disregarded clear evidence from over 40 years of past implementation; ignored the reliance interests of the citizens, businesses, and industries that depend on full and complete NEPA analyses; and turned the mandatory public engagement process into a paper exercise, rather than the meaningful inquiry the law requires.”
Continuing, the complaint states:
By excluding a range of projects from any NEPA review, severely limiting the environmental effects that must be considered under NEPA, restricting which alternatives should be studied, and allowing projects to proceed before the NEPA process is complete, CEQ has eviscerated the heart of the statutory scheme. Because CEQ has arbitrarily reversed longstanding regulations, contrary to the administrative record and the governing statute, its rulemaking violates the APA [Administrative Procedures Act] and must be vacated.