Final Guidance Clarifying Use of Categorical Exclusions
The guidance recommends best practices for appropriate use of categorical exclusions and was developed as part of CEQ’s effort to modernize and reinvigorate Federal agency implementation of NEPA. It was designed to ensure that agencies establish and use categorical exclusions appropriately and transparently. It also calls on agencies to review their existing categorical exclusions periodically to avoid the use of outdated NEPA procedures.
CEQ's guidance clarifies requirements of NEPA, and the CEQ regulations implementing NEPA, regarding categorical exclusions. Specifically, it suggests that Agencies should:
- utilize information technology to inform the public about new or revised categorical exclusions and their justifications;
- remain alert to new conditions and information that would cause an agency to reconsider a categorical exclusion;
- consider further public documentation and disclosure in applying established categorical exclusions, particularly where they may implicate extraordinary circumstances; and
- in general, review their existing categorical exclusions at least every seven years to avoid the use of outdated NEPA procedures.