The Council on Environmental Quality oversees NEPA implementation, principally through issuing guidance and interpreting regulations that implement NEPA’s procedural requirements. CEQ also reviews and approves Federal agency NEPA procedures, approves alternative arrangements for compliance with NEPA for emergencies, helps to resolve disputes between Federal agencies and with other governmental entities and members of the public, and oversees Federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process and coordinates when agencies disagree over the adequacy of such assessments.
In addition to NEPA implementation, CEQ also develops and recommends national policies to the President that promote the improvement of environmental quality and meet the Nation’s goals. CEQ is also assigned responsibilities under NEPA and other statutes and Executive Orders, including overseeing the Office of Federal Sustainability (OFS).
Office of Federal Sustainability
Established in 1993 through Executive Order, the Office of Federal Sustainability (OFS) is housed within CEQ to implement Administration priorities for energy and environmental sustainability across Federal Government operations, which encompass more than 350,000 buildings, 600,000 vehicles, and $500 billion annually in purchased goods and services, including $16 billion for energy.
OFS coordinates policy and programs to achieve relevant Executive Order and statutory goals, including implementation of Executive Order 13834 titled “Efficient Federal Operations,” signed on May 17, 2018 and published on May 22, 2018. 83 FR 23771. The Executive Order directs agencies to manage buildings, vehicles, and operations to optimize energy and environmental performance while reducing waste and cutting costs. OFS works with agencies and other White House components to achieve these goals by improving energy efficiency, deploying efficient technologies, and modernizing Federal building and operations through sound use of taxpayer dollars. OFS also liaises with industry and external stakeholders and encourages public-private partnerships that advance Federal energy and water efficiency, including the use of performance contracting to modernize facilities at no upfront cost to the government. For a Fact Sheet on Executive Order 13834, “Efficient Federal Operations,” click here.
Visit the Office of Federal Sustainability website to learn more.
Infrastructure & Executive Order 13807
On August 15, 2017, the President signed Executive Order 13807 titled “Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects,” which was published on August 24, 2017. 82 FR 40463. The Executive Order directs CEQ to undertake a number of actions. In particular, Section 5(e)(i) of Executive Order 13807 provides that “[w]ithin 30 days of the date of this order, the CEQ shall develop an initial list of actions it will take to enhance and modernize the Federal environmental review and authorization process. Such actions should include issuing such regulations, guidance, and directives as CEQ may deem necessary to:
A. ensure optimal interagency coordination of environmental review and authorization decisions, including by providing for an expanded role and authorities for lead agencies, more clearly defined responsibilities for cooperating and participating agencies, and Government-wide applicability of NEPA decisions and analyses;
B. ensure that environmental reviews and authorization decisions involving multiple agencies are conducted in a manner that is concurrent, synchronized, timely, and efficient;
C. provide for agency use, to the maximum extent permitted by law, of environmental studies, analysis, and decisions conducted in support of earlier Federal, State, tribal, or local environmental reviews or authorization decisions; and
D. ensure that agencies apply NEPA in a manner that reduces unnecessary burdens and delays as much as possible, including by using CEQ’s authority to interpret NEPA to simplify and accelerate the NEPA review process.”
On April 9, 2018, Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) implementing the One Federal Decision policy established in Executive Order 13807. The MOU was signed pursuant to a Memorandum issued to agencies by the Office of Management and Budget and CEQ.
Visit Initiatives to learn more.