NEPA Review Helps to Increase Transparency and Promote Environmental Protection
Washington, D.C. – The American Association (AGA) applauds the proposed rule released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) today to update the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This proposed rule will streamline, clarify and modernize the permitting and environmental review process and will help facilitate the environmentally-responsible construction of natural gas infrastructure. AGA looks forward to ways in which CEQ can improve the federal review process to increase safe access to clean, affordable, reliable natural gas.
“This proposed rule from the White House Council on Environmental Quality is an important step to greater transparency and efficiency in the NEPA process and will help America’s natural gas utilities continue to provide timely, safe, reliable and affordable service to the 179 million Americans that enjoy the benefits of natural gas and the millions more that want it,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “It is promising to see the CEQ take feedback and concerns from all stakeholders, including our industry, into account during this review. We are hopeful that this rule will result in a federal environmental review and permitting process that increases infrastructure development while growing the economy and enhancing environmental stewardship.”
Specifically, the proposed changes to CEQ’s NEPA regulations should help promote predictability and transparency in the permitting process by clearly identifying which federal agencies need to review proposals, improving coordination between federal agencies and reducing unnecessary delays in the review process.
Since the announcement of the review in July 2018, AGA has submitted multiple comments regarding the review of the NEPA process by CEQ:
- On August 20, 2018, AGA joined with the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) to respond to the White House CEQ Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking request for comments on how to update and improve the CEQ’s 40-year old regulations under NEPA.
- On August 26, 2019, AGA filed comments with CEQ in response to draft guidance on the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions in NEPA documents. AGA supports the balanced approach taken by CEQ in the draft guidance.
- On November 22, 2019, AGA signed a letter with other organizations representing agriculture, energy, forestry, manufacturing and transportation to support the fundamental goals of NEPA and its modernization.
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 73 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 69 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.