White House speeds up renewable energy environmental reviews

Apr 30, 2024

The White House this morning finalized regulations to speed up renewable energy development across the country. The “NEPA Phase 2” rule implements last year’s bipartisan debt ceiling deal by establishing one lead agency to handle environmental reviews, setting deadlines and page limits, and requiring agencies to consider climate impacts during the review process.

“We are making reforms in this rule that will help speed infrastructure and permitting, but without losing sight of the environmental and health benefits we need to protect,” said Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Conservation groups also praised the reforms.

“Importantly, by facilitating upfront problem-solving, these updated regulations provide clean energy project sponsors with greater certainty and clarity,” said Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen. “When people who have the most at stake are engaged with each other at the outset, and there is a good faith effort to identify and solve problems from the start, the end results are better, with good projects moving forward faster.”

House kicks off anti-conservation week

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on a series of bills this week that would reverse some of the Biden administration’s biggest conservation accomplishments. One bill up for a floor vote would repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s new Public Lands Rule, which puts conservation on equal footing with drilling and mining. Another would abolish the 20-year ban on mining around Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The White House released statements opposing the House bills.

Kaden McArthur with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers told Field & Stream that the bills would hurt fish and wildlife across the country.

“We are deeply discouraged to see the House of Representatives take politically charged action to overturn conservation achievements widely applauded by hunters and anglers,” McArthur said. “With limited time left before the end of this Congress, lawmakers ought to be focused on passing bipartisan policies like Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), that further the conservation of our wild places and wildlife, rather than walking back these actions taken by the Department of the Interior.”

Quick hits

Chuckwalla National Monument would protect swath of California desert and preserve a sacred land

Los Angeles Times

Conservationists and Tribes fight for protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands

KMVT | High Country News | OPB News

Ute Mountain Utes call for new look at 1923 violence in Bears Ears area

KSL

As national monuments multiply, Bears Ears forges forward

High Country News

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland confronts the history of the agency she leads

New Yorker

Inside the rare alliance to block mining on a Colorado mountain

E&E News

Pikes Peak is getting “trashed” by overuse—and literal trash

Denver Post

Opinion: Ambler Tribal Council thanks Biden, Haaland for stopping mining road

Anchorage Daily News

Quote of the day

Yellowstone bison are about as tolerant a bison as you can find. They’re used to having a lot of people around. But even they have their limits.”

—Martin Zaluski, former Montana state veterinarian, on the Yellowstone tourist injured after drunkenly kicking a bison in the leg

Picture This

A dramatic sunset over a river

@utahpubliclands

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John Jarvie Historic Ranch at the Green River during sunset 📷 Bob Wick


Featured image: Solar project in Riverside County, California. Bob Wick, BLM.