The Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued on November 2 a memorandum to the heads of all departments and agencies of the Federal Government providing guidance on how to implement a new rule that was adopted in July that revises procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The departments and agencies heads are required to submit a plan within 30 days to OMB outlining “their schedule for initiating, proposing, and finalizing new or updated agency NEPA procedures and related materials.” Status reports on the agency’s progress are due by March 15 and August 1, 2021. Some agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, have already begun the process spelled out in the memorandum.
When OMB issued the rule in July, the Southern Environmental Law Center said that it “hobbled the nation’s bedrock environmental protection” and “illegally cut corners in a way that the courts have rejected time and time again.”
Should a new administration take office in January, the requirements spelled out in the July OMB rule and November 2 memorandum would likely change.