NC Joins Others Seeking Judicial Review of NEPA Revisions

NC Joins 26 Others Seeking Judicial Review of NEPA Revisions

August 31, 2020

On Friday, August 28, 2020, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined 20 other democratic-led states and filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief  in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) seeking judicial review of CEQ's final rule that revised its longstanding implementing regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Calling NEPA a success story of government transparency, meaningful public participation, informed decision making, and environmental and public health protection, the complaint charges that CEQ seeks to derail NEPA at the expense of the environment and the people it is meant to protect. Specifically, the complaint states that the final rule:

  • Severely limits which federal actions require NEPA compliance
  • Greatly narrows the scope of federal agencies’ obligation to consider environmental impacts
  • Threatens to render NEPA’s public participation process a meaningless paperwork exercise
  • Unlawfully seeks to restrict judicial review of agency actions that violate NEPA

The lawsuit charges that CEQ's final rule is "arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law in violation of the APA and NEPA, was promulgated in excess of statutory authority and without observance of procedure required by law, and should be vacated."