Description: Challenge to amendments of the National Environmental Policy Act regulations.
Environmental Justice Health Alliance v. Council on Environmental Quality
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/06/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Challenge to Amended NEPA Regulations Raised Climate Change Concerns. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York challenging the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ’s) amendments to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The plaintiffs alleged that the amendments would cause “real, foreseeable harms to people, communities, and the natural environment” and would cause agencies “to disregard, rather than disclose and consider, carbon pollution that threatens the integrity of our climate.” The complaint described some of the “[c]ountless unnecessary environmental harms” that plaintiffs alleged had been “identified, disclosed, and often avoided, simply because NEPA requires federal agencies to think before they act.” The plaintiffs characterized the amendments as an attempt “to revise a statute that Congress has been unwilling to repeal and rewrite” and asserted that defects in the rule rendered it illegal under the standards of the Administrative Procedure Act. Among the defects alleged in the complaint were the elimination of the requirement to consider cumulative impacts and indirect effects (which the plaintiffs alleged would make it “extremely difficult” to consider a project’s effects, including climate change impacts, on environmental justice communities) and a failure to consider and adequately address public comments (including comments that eliminating the requirement to analyze indirect and cumulative effects would prevent assessment of the impacts of federal actions on climate change).