White House Puts Final Touches on New Permit Shake-Up in Debt Ceiling Deal

Alex Thompson By Alex Thompson Jun7,2024

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized rules Tuesday aimed at streamlining the environmental review process under the National Environmental Protection Act.

The final rule, which was part of an agreement in last summer’s deal to increase the federal debt ceiling, creates new methods for the federal government to establish a categorical exclusion. These are the speediest category of decisions in the permitting process because they refer to cases where the government has determined they do not affect the environment enough to require an environmental review. The additions in the final rule include allowing joint categorical exclusions between multiple agencies.

The final rule also includes provisions to improve community engagement in the environmental review process, undoing a 2020 Trump administration rule that critics have said imposed excessive hurdles for public comment during the process. It further eliminates provisions of the 2020 rule that the Biden administration CEQ said “attempted to curtail judicial review” of permitting decisions.

“President Biden has unleashed historic investments to build our clean energy future, make long-overdue infrastructure upgrades across the nation, and deliver benefits to communities that have been historically left behind,” CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory said in a statement. “These reforms will deliver smarter decisions, quicker permitting, and projects that are built better and faster. As we accelerate our clean energy future, we are also protecting communities from pollution and environmental harms that can result from poor planning and decision-making while making sure we build projects in the right places.”

Environmental groups praised the Biden administration for the final rule, saying it restored enforcement strength to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that had been previously rolled back.

“Meaningful community engagement is the key to unlocking our clean energy future. It leads to better projects that face less opposition on the back end,” Christy Goldfuss, executive director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “We do not have to sacrifice environmental justice, community safeguards, public health, or environmental protections to fight climate change and build the clean energy economy we need.”

Alex Thompson

By Alex Thompson

Alex is an award-winning journalist with a passion for investigative reporting. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Alex has covered a wide range of topics from politics to entertainment. Known for in-depth research and compelling storytelling, Alex's work has been featured in major news outlets around the world.

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2 thoughts on “White House Puts Final Touches on New Permit Shake-Up in Debt Ceiling Deal”
  1. In my opinion, the White House’s focus on streamlining the environmental review process is a positive step towards promoting efficiency and responsible decision-making in government projects. I support the efforts to improve community engagement and ensure faster, smarter permitting for essential infrastructure upgrades. President Biden’s commitment to clean energy and equitable development is evident in these reforms.

  2. It’s great to see the White House taking steps to streamline the environmental review process and improve community engagement. President Biden’s focus on clean energy and infrastructure upgrades is crucial for our future. These reforms will lead to smarter decisions and faster project completion.

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