The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has issued draft guidance for incorporating greenhouse gas consideration into National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses. The guidance explains how federal agencies should handle the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change when examining the environmental impacts of proposed actions under NEPA. The guidance “does not apply to land and resource management actions and does not propose to regulate greenhouse gases.” CEQ chief Nancy Sutley said, “I think there was really no question that there are environmental effects associated with climate change, and how could we not have that as part of agencies' thinking as they look at their NEPA obligations and looking at environmental impacts?"

The White House CEQ also announced three other steps that will modernize NEPA. The first is a draft guidance clarifying appropriateness of “findings of no significant impact” and specifying when there is a need to monitor environmental mitigation commitments. The other steps include revised draft guidance clarifying the use of “categorical exclusions” and enhancing the public tools for reporting on NEPA activities.

The White House CEQ will receive comment for 90 days on the draft guidance. All public comments can be submitted to: www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/initiatives/nepa.