Biden Administration Strengthens Use of Foundational U.S. Environmental Law

Updates for NEPA Implementation Will Protect Communities, Accelerate Clean Energy Projects

April 30, 2024
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718,

(Washington, D.C. – April 30, 2024) The Biden administration today finalized action to restore and strengthen the foundation of U.S. environmental law, reduce barriers to clean energy projects around the country, and protect communities from climate change and dangerous pollution.

“The Biden administration’s action today will put us back on the right track for considering environmental impacts,” said Rosalie Winn, director of methane and clean air policy for Environmental Defense Fund. “This rule will ensure that federal agencies are considering the environmental justice and climate impacts of projects, clearly disclosing potential impacts of those projects to the public, and actively engaging with the communities that will be especially impacted by them. It will restore much-needed certainty, efficiency, transparency, and meaningful public engagement into decisions that will affect all our lives.”

The White House Council on Environmental Quality announced the final Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule today. The rule strengthens the processes for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a core law underlying our nation’s environmental policies. NEPA guides federal agencies when they consider the impact of their actions on the climate, critical national infrastructure like the national power grid, and communities – especially those that have been disproportionately burdened by pollution and climate change.

The previous administration took steps that undermined NEPA and precluded consideration of climate impacts and harms in agencies’ decisions, making it easier to pollute and harder for the public to learn about and comment on projects that would create more pollution in their neighborhoods.

The Bipartisan Permitting Reform Implementation Rule reverses those damaging regulatory changes. It will help ensure that agencies consider how their actions may contribute to or mitigate climate change, and how climate change may threaten a proposed agency action or alter its environmental outcomes. The rule requires that agencies give specific consideration to the public health impacts of projects, and that environmental reviews of projects quantify the reasonably foreseeable amounts of climate pollution they will generate.

The rule includes steps to accelerate the process for approving clean energy projects, makes it easier for communities to have a voice in those approvals, and prioritizes engagement and coordination with tribal governments based on comments from tribal groups.

“This rule will modernize and streamline our process for developing new renewable energy projects and getting them connected to the national grid,” said Ted Kelly, EDF’s senior attorney for energy markets and regulation. “Right now we have a backlog of clean energy projects in the U.S. Reducing that backlog, and getting beneficial clean energy projects built, will help protect all Americans from the climate crisis.”

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund ( creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund