NEPA: “Judge Considers Freezing ‘Political’ Environmental Review Rule”

“A federal judge took a no-nonsense approach Friday to a hearing on the White House’s rewrite of federal environmental review standards, grilling conservation groups on how they’ll be harmed and chiding the Justice Department for glossing over the political motivations behind the rules.

Judge James P. Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia presided over more than two hours of arguments on whether he should freeze the government’s new National Environmental Policy Act rules. They take effect Sept. 14, replacing Nixon-era requirements.

Southern Environmental Law Center senior attorney Kym Hunter argued the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulation causes immediate harm to Wild Virginia, the Congaree Riverkeeper, and other groups by eliminating “longstanding procedural safeguards” that require agencies to study and disclose the environmental impacts of major federal actions.”

Ellen M. Gilmer reports for Bloomberg Environment September 4, 2020.