May 07, 2020

Scientific uncertainty and the Council on Environmental Quality’s proposed changes to its National Environmental Policy Act regulations

Steph Tai

Introduction

On January 10, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed major changes to its approach toward the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in its Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA (hereinafter Update). These proposed changes include changes to key aspects of how federal agencies are to comply with NEPA, including the threshold applicability analysis, categorical exclusions, environmental assessments (EAs), scoping, and environmental impact statements (EISs). To date, no one has addressed what these proposed changes mean for assessing and disclosing scientific uncertainties in the NEPA process.

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