NEPA Restored: With an Improved Focus on Climate and Environmental Justice

New rule strengthens our bedrock environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act.


What is happening today?

This morning, the Biden Administration’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published the final part of a two-phase effort to restore and modernize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Today’s rule, called the Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule, gives the public a stronger voice in public lands management and government decisions that affect public health. It also strengthens requirements assessing climate and environmental justice impacts, while centering science in government decision-making. 

What happened in 2020?

The Trump Administration gutted NEPA, our nation’s bedrock environmental law, in 2020, and we have been working to #ProtectNEPA ever since.

What actions were taken to protect NEPA?

Shortly after the 2020 debacle, Winter Wildlands Alliance joined a lawsuit to challenge the Trump administration’s actions on NEPA. That case was placed on hold while the Biden administration finalized this new rule. CEQ completed Phase 1 of the NEPA restoration effort in April 2022, during which they published a preliminary rule restoring the fundamental elements of NEPA. These elements have given citizens a voice in government decision-making and helped to protect our environment since 1970. Over the past two years, CEQ has been working to modernize application of NEPA to address 21st-century challenges, with a particular focus on how it should be applied to fight climate change and promote environmental justice. 

Why does NEPA matter?

‘Look before you leap’ is a fundamental purpose of NEPA, and this new rule will ensure, among other things, that our nation can rapidly transition to a clean energy future without sacrificing public lands, the larger environment, or the health of frontline communities.”

Hilary Eisen, Policy Director at Winter Wildlands Alliance

NEPA is at the heart of the work Winter Wildlands Alliance does to protect America’s wild snowscapes and we applaud the Biden Administration for restoring transparency, science, and meaningful public engagement to federal decision-making.